DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants his special assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to testify in the P15.5-billion Frigates navy deal but in an open court and not in an executive session as suggested.
In a press conference Firday night, February 9, at the Matina Enclaves here, Duterte instructed Go “Huwag kang pumayag na executive session, ‘yan ang huwag mong gawin, Bong, you demand an open and transparent public hearing.”
He repeatedly said in an interview “I was told he will be invited but the session is a close door, I told Bong, you testify in an open session, wala ka namang tinatago (you are not hiding anything).”
Duterte who stands behind Go said “Huwag kang pumayag ng secret-secret meeting diyan. Harap-harapan (Don’t agree to a secret meeting. It should be face-to-face),” he added.
Duterte noted that it was purely an issue between the military top brass and the Department of National Defense (DND) and the deal was done during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
He said there was a squabble between Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado, who wanted a different deal.
Go has earlier said he would attend the Senate probe on the P15.5-billion frigates deal if he receives an invitation, to prove his innocence.
“I have nothing to hide, because I don’t know anything about the issue, I am willing to attend if I will be invited,” Go earlier said.
The Rappler report implicated Go to the Frigates deal, but Go vehemently denied any hand about the contract.
The Senate earlier said it will investigate the deal which involves two warships for the Philippine Navy.
Duterte said Go is rich and there is no need for him to further enrich himself.
Duterte said Go’s family pioneered the printing industry in the city and is among the richest old families here.
While serving Duterte as Mayor in Davao, Go was never implicated in any anomaly.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph