Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has criticized former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and now senatorial aspirant Christopher “Bong” Go for unlawfully using government resources to improve his chance for getting elected to public office.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, said Go is taking undue advantage of public resources for personal and political gains whenever he leads the launching of government projects like Malasakit Centers in state hospitals and take all credits for it.
“By leading the launch of Malasakit Centers in government hospitals, whether as the representative of Duterte or on his own behalf, he has retained the functions of his former position, a position that, legally, he no longer holds after resigning,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 456.
“By doing so, Bong Go is usurping government authority as he continues to perform the functions of a public office, while at the same time circumventing election laws by doing what precisely said laws seek to prevent,” she added.
While Go has already stepped down from his post as SAP when he filed his candidacy for senator, he however continues to lead the launchings of Malasakit Centers throughout the country – an activity he started even before the campaign period.
Just recently, Go led the inauguration of the 21st Malasakit Center at Eduardo Joson Memorial Hospital in Cabanatuan City which is expected to provide indigent patients access to free medicines, and made it appear that it was his initiative.
Prior to this, De Lima raised concern over Go’s premature campaigning, noting how the former SAP dominated public spaces through his tarpaulins and expensive billboards as well as TV appearances even before the official campaign period began.
By leading the said launchings, the lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that Go is violating the election laws because he claims brand ownership over an activity that is wholly government-funded and government-run.
“This is the undue advantage that is sought to be prohibited and avoided under election laws, aside from the inappropriate or even illegal use of government resources and public funds for one’s own personal benefit,” she said.
“He has only proven that he is nothing but just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill trapo without any scruples or delicadeza. After all, what can we expect from somebody whose family has cornered millions worth of government contracts simply because of his closeness to the President,” she added. Last year, De Lima, along with fellow minority senators, filed Senate Resolution No. 584 calling for a Senate investigation into the multibillion-peso frigate acquisition of two missile-capable frigates for the Philippine Navy involving Go.