"What is Bong Go, really?"
When I was writing a chapter of my book The Road Never Ends, which I said would be launched this month but would be really launched in January, I came across an item that some people, which included Geny Lopez of ABS-CBN and former Senator Serge Osmeña, were detained at Camp Crame for supposedly plotting to assassinate President Ferdinand Marcos.
Santa Banana, I can no longer recall who else was involved in that plot!
There were news reports that the two managed to escape, so much so that a movie called Eskapo was made of it. Still, there was inside information that the two did not really escape—rather, they were allowed to escape upon orders of Marcos.
How could anybody escape from Camp Crame when Metro Manila was full of checkpoints at around that time? And how could Lopez and Osmeña have gone to the United States when they had no passports and visas?
What I gathered was that Marcos allowed the two to escape because he did not quite know what to do with them. Perhaps he thought that would have been better to avoid speculation.
* * *
I was rather intrigued by a news report yesterday that said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano admitted he had personal objections to the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise even as he promised that the House would be “fair” to the network.
Cayetano did not elaborate on his objections.
The franchise is said to expire in March 2020. Cayetano implied that the renewal was not priority legislation.
My gulay, at least six bills have already been filed for the renewal of the franchise, but until now, the franchise panel led by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez has not tabled the measure for discussion.
President Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of the Lopez network’s franchise because it ran an advertisement adverse to him in 2016 and refused to air his own paid ad.
I wonder how President Duterte will act on this matter. The President can veto any law passed by Congress, but both chambers can always override this by a two-thirds vote.
As a journalist I believe that it would be to the best interest of the administration to renew the ABS-CBN franchise so that it would not be accused of being anti-media and anti-press freedom.
* * *
Now that Vice President Robredo has accepted the challenge to take over the war against drugs, I think she would fail.
Duterte’s offer for her to do the job in six months is a big joke. He himself has been doing it for over three years and yet the problem remains.
Duterte has not succeeded because as I have repeatedly said, he is looking at the drug problem as a peace and order issue. But this is so wrong. Rather, the drug menace is a health issue.
According to the President himself, there are between 7 million and 8 million drug users. That’s a lot in any language, Santa Banana!
This is precisely the reason drug syndicates continue to thrive and smuggle their goods into the Philippines. My gulay, it’s an issue of supply and demand!
This is the reason I believe Robredo will also fail, not only because she does not have the mettle for it as Duterte does, but because the fight should be to stop the demand.
The Vice President should just keep her mouth shut. Criticizing the President will not solve the problem.
* * *
Together with detained Senator Leila de Lima, Senator Bong Go claims he is the poorest senator, if we go by the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
If this is so, where is Go getting all the money he is spreading around when he helps, say, fire victims.
Question: Is he really a poor man?
Recall that in September last year, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism came out with a series of stories that claim Go and his family’s company had been awarded billions of pesos worth of projects in Davao. The PCIJ report said:
“In 2017, the first full years of the Duterte budget, CLTG won DPWH contracts worth a total of P399,336,326.72. In the same year, it won, through joint ventures, a total of P2.732,191,443,36 in DPWH contracts.”
The report also said: “Two senior government officials and at least four contractors privy to procurement activities in Davao told PCIJ in separate interviews that backdoor deals are happening in order for certain companies to corner contracts even though they do not have the capability to take on projects. The result is a rather skewed spread of infrastructure projects awarded to supposed favored but incapable contractors. The sources have all requested anonymity because of the potential implication on their employment and business.”
The lucky set of contractors in the Davao Region belong to two entities—CLTG Builders and Alfredo Builders—owned by the father and half-brother of Go.
The expose was denied by the DPWH and by Bong Go. Shall we believe him?
So Senator Go is a billionaire after all. Even the President said that.