Trillanes slaps Duterte, Go with plunder charges

Former president Rodrigo Duterte, along with Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go and two others, were charged with plunder by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV for alleged irregularities in the awarding of public works contracts in Davao region.

In a complaint filed at the Department of Justice last July 5, Trillanes alleged that PhP6.6 billion worth of projects were irregularly awarded by the Department of Public Works and Highways to CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply own by Go’s father Deciderio and brother Alfredo.

Trillanes questions how the two “mid- and bottom tiered contractors” were able to secure the contracts despite limited and unfinished construction projects, “to the prejudice of the government and the people of Davao.”

The former senator said no less than 125 public works projects were awarded to CLTG Builders while 59 projects were given to Alfrego Builders and Supply in clear violation of The Anti-Plunder Act (Republic Act 7080) as well as other laws and the Constitution itself.

“Simply put, Alfrego Builders & Supply should not have been awarded any project worth more than P10 million, and is prohibited from taking on projects with a total cost of more than P15 million at once,” the complaint reads.

“Curiously, some contracts obtained by Alfrego amounted to Php181.5 million, Php140 million, Php132.5 million, and Php108 million, all of which were awarded in 2017 to 2018 when Duterte was President and herein Respondent Bong Go was Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte as Special Assistant to the President and Head of the Presidential Management Staff,” it adds.

Trillanes also said that CLTG Builders, named after the senator’s initials, was originally owned by the close Duterte associate.

Go has earlier said he had divested himself of his interests in the company since elected appointed to the government.

Duterte has remained silent on critic Trillanes’ latest broadside against him.

The charge is the second complaint the former president received after ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. France Castro’s grave threat complaint against him last October. Castro’s complaint has since been dismissed for “lack of evidence.”

Senator Go however denied the plunder allegations, saying the charges are “rehashed.”

Go said the “re-cycled issues” from a “lazy attack dog like Trillanes.”

The senator countered that people associated with Trillanes should also be looked into, adding that such “attacks” have become a “tradition” when election time nears.

“It has become the tradition of others to attack when elections approach. It seems it has become a business of sorts to earn or to become relevant,” Go told reporters.

Trillanes has earlier announced plans to run for the mayoralty of Caloocan City.

Trillanes however said his complaint was filed as a “taxpayer and concerned citizen.”

Trillanes had been a Duterte political nemesis since the start of the latter’s presidency in 2016, initiating the “mass murder” complaint against the then president before the International Criminal Court in April 2017. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Journalists express outrage at PIA’s promotion of Bong Go

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) expressed outrage over efforts by the Philippine Information Agency’s Negros Occidental (PIA-NO) office to act as public relations arm of senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

In a statement, the NUJP accused PIA-NO provincial information center Lorenzo Lambatin Jr. of insulting local journalists by sending them “suggested questions” to Go who was expected in Bacolod on Saturday, October 27, with President Rodrigo duterte for the city’s annual Masskara Festival.

“Since when have the duties of the PIA included being a public relations arm for political candidates and, as the second question clearly acknowledges, a private citizen ‘no longer with the government?’” the NUJP asked.

Lambatin reportedly sent the following “suggested questions” to the journalists Saturday afternoon:

  1. Sir message ninyo sa mga taga-Bacolod and sa Masskara event?”
  2. What makes you busy now that you are no longer with the government?
  3. Sir,baket ka tumakbo bilang senador?
  4. Sir,tell us about Malasakit Centers?
  5. Sir what would be your legislative agenda, sakaling palarin kang manalo bilang senador?

Go filed his certificate of candidacy for next year’s national elections earlier this month and has resigned as “special assistant to the President,” a unique Cabinet position created for the long-time assistant to Duterte.

NUJP reminded Lambatin that PIA’s mandate is “to disseminate information about government programs, projects, and services to the Filipino public, with the final goal of seeing the quality of their lives improved and empowered to participate in the country’s democratic processes.”

For using the PIA to benefit a private citizen, the NUJP called on PIA Director-General Harold Clavite to immediately conduct an investigation into this matter and make the findings public.

The journalists group added Lambatin owes the Negros media an apology for the affront and should explain who ordered the use of his office to promote Go’s candidacy.

Lambatin has yet to respond to NUJP’s statement issued Sunday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)