Dispatch from Crame No. 456: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Bong Go’s questionable Pre-Election Campaign activities


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What is a private citizen running for senator like Bong Go doing launching of government projects like Malasakit Centers in government hospitals (the latest being in Nueva Ecija)? Bong Go is no longer a public official. He no longer works for the President in any official government capacity.

By mandate of election laws, all appointive officials of the executive running for public office must resign upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy. Bong Go did resign his position as Special Assistant to the President (SAP) when he filed his certificate of candidacy for Senator in October last year. But 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.

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 – the use of public office and the funds, resources, authority, and power that come along with it in one’s bid for an elective position.

Bong Go might hide behind the technicality that he is not campaigning because the election campaign period has not yet started, and that he is not usurping authority because he is not pretending to be a government official every time he appears to launch Malasakit Centers throughout the country.

But for all intents and purposes, campaigning with the use of government resources and usurpation of authority are the acts substantially committed by the former SAP whenever he leads these launchings and impresses upon the public that the provision of health services and assistance through the Malasakit Centers is made possible through his own efforts.

Every time he leads these launchings, he effectively 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.

Bong Go has apparently graduated from special assistant to special citizen, because he is given all these accommodations and privileges by agency officials, apparently upon orders of Duterte. But in willing to exploit opportunities to “grace” such events, Bong Go has shown that there is actually nothing special about him. 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.

Ang bisyo pala ay hindi serbisyo, kung hindi abuso sa gobyerno. ###

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