Nograleses defend Go: He’s collateral damage
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Nograles brothers in the House of Representatives have taken up the cudgels for their fellow Davaoeño Christopher Go, the special assistant to President Duterte.

“They’ve done everything to malign the Chief Executive but these obviously haven’t worked in their favor. So now they’re targeting his most trusted friend Bong Go,” Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said over the weekend. 

Karlo and his younger congressman-brother Jericho of party-list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta are convinced that Go is just collateral damage in attacks against Duterte, who recently obtained “excellent” popularity and trust ratings among Filipinos.

In a joint statement, the siblings – both nephews of Duterte – see this issue raised by opposition Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano as a “fishing expedition” and “at worst, a setup aimed at smearing Duterte’s good name through his close friend and aide, Go.” 

Jericho argued the P15.7-billion Frigate Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy was initiated by the Aquino administration in 2013 and was completed through the appointment of the winning bidder on June 2016, a full three weeks before President Duterte took over. 

“The timeline of the FAP is indisputable. Simply put, Bong Go was never in a position to intervene during that period even if he wanted to, ”he said. 

Jericho added the connections being made right now between Go and the warship deal are all after the fact. He pointed out the supposed damning document against Go wasn’t even signed.

“No Bong Go signature, no issue. This looks like a witch hunt just like all the other attempts to discredit our government,” he said.

For his part, Karlo noted the alleged interference in the warship deal has already been denied by Go himself as well as officials like sacked Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“Mercado and Lorenzana practically serve as witnesses of Bong Go that there was no interference committed. It’s up to the latter’s detractors to prove otherwise but so far they haven’t been able to produce solid evidence,” he said.

Alejano – an ally of opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the most vocal critic of Duterte – has insisted that the President himself is involved in the Philippine Navy’s P18-billion acquisition of missile-equipped frigates. 

“I respect the position of SND (Secretary of National Defense) Lorenzana. On the other hand, it is also to my understanding that the SND will not be forced to make actions if it was given by just anybody,” he said, apparently referring to Lorenzana’s boss, Duterte.

Alejano though has kind words for Lorenzana, who he said had “good intentions with regard to the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP)” although he suspects untrustworthy people provide him with skewed information.

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