Presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go (left) said that he was willing to appear in the Senate to disprove allegations that he dipped his hands into the Navy's multi-billion frigate project.
Presidential Photo/Ace Morandate
Go willing to face accusers in 'Congress, courtroom even basketball court'
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - January 19, 2018 - 6:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said on Friday that he was willing to attend any congressional probe into the multi-billion peso Navy frigate acquisition project he was accused of dipping his hands into.

According to Go, who is also the head of the Presidential Management Staff, he is willing to attend any Senate investigation into the issue and to face his accusers.

"If I will be called by the Senate because of the frigate issue, anywhere, anytime, I'm willing to face the accusers," Go said in Filipino in a message to reporters.

READ: Alejano: Duterte should probe Bong Go over Navy frigate issue

The presidential aide underscored that the accusations that he tried to lobby the military to choose a South Korean firm for the supply of the combat management system of the Navy's two ships were "false."

Go stressed that he was not hiding anything and was not hiding from anyone.

"From the Halls of the Senate and Congress, to the Courts of Justice and even basketball courts, I will cooperate and face the false and malicious accusations against me," Go said, who has vehemently denied his involvement in the issue.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque expressed confidence on Go's innocence in the issue and insisted that he would testify to attest that he did not intervene in the P18-billion contract.

"SAP (Special Assistant to the President) has nothing to hide. He will appear to attest to the fact that he never intervened," Roque said in a text message to Philstar.com.

Minority senators on Tuesday filed a resolution calling for a Senate investigation into the allegation that Go tried to influence the Navy to choose the combat management system offered by Navy Shield of Hanwha Tales of South Korea over that offered by Thales Tacticos of Netherlands.

The resolution, signed by Sens. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, seeks to ascertain if the multi-billion frigate project "promotes the goals of the modernization program and complies with pertinent laws."

Early this week, Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) accused Go of handing a white paper of the South Korean company to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, which the defense chief forwarded to then Navy Flag Officer in Command Ronald Mercado.

Alejano said that Mercado's choice of the Dutch company might have led to his removal from office, which Lorenzana explained was due to the lost of his trust in the former Navy chief.

The Magdalo lawmaker said that Go's office, through Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, invited Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad, then head of the Project Management Team, to a meeting at the Palace on Jan. 18, 2017 specifically to discuss the issue on the choice for CMS.

President Rodrigo Duterte has defended his aide and blasted a media organization for its report on the issue.

The chief executive challenged Go's accusers to prove his involvement and vowed to relieve his aide immediately the following day.

READ: Lorenzana: Bong Go did not meddle in Navy's frigate deal

PHILIPPINE NAVY AND COASTGUARD SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT BONG GO
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