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Pacquiao willing to lead Senate ethics probe vs. Bong Go if complaint is filed

Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday said he is willing to lead the Senate ethics committee’s investigation into Senator Bong Go’s alleged involvement in the government’s procurement of overpriced medical goods if a complaint is filed before the panel.

“Depende po yan, as chairman of ethics committee, kung may mga reklamo po na mai-submit sa committee ko po, mararapat lamang na aksyunan ko,” Pacquiao said in an ANC interview.

(It depends. As chairman of the ethics committee, if there is a complaint that was submitted to my committee, then I will have to take action.)

Pacquiao made the statement a day after Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon floated the possibility of a Senate ethics probe against Go over his supposed links to former Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service head Christopher Lawrence Lao, who is being tagged to the alleged overpricing of pandemic supplies.

Gordon said at least four senators are supportive of the ethics probe against Go.

Despite Go’s denial of his links with Lao, Pacqiauo believes that the relationship between the two should be clarified before the public.

“Dapat pong tanungin kasi nili-link po ang pangalan niya kay Christopher Lao at mabigyan ng linaw ang taumbayan kung sino si Christopher Lao at ano ang konesksyon niya ano ang relationship niya kay Senator Bong Go,” he said.

(This issue should be scrutinized because he is being linked to Christopher Lao. This will clarify the issue and will reveal who Lao is and his connection or relationship with Senator Bong Go.)

Pacquiao also hopes that his colleague will not take offense on the committee’s possible interrogation.

“I hope yung mga tanong na i-ask sa kanya or kay Christopher Lao ay hindi mao-offend ang kasama kong senador, Christopher Bong Go, dahil ginagampanan lang ang tungkulin namin para mabigyan ng lunas o clarification ang lahat ng mga issue in aid of legislation,” he added.

(I hope my colleague, Senator Bong Go, will not be offended on the questions that will be asked to him or to Christopher Lao because we are just performing our duty to give solution or clarification on the issues in aid of legislation.)

Bong Go

In his privilege speech on Tuesday, Go accused his colleagues of bullying but said he will welcome any investigations to end all speculations.

Go also denied anew his link to Lao, who served as the DBM-PS chief when the medical goods were procured at the onset of the pandemic last year. He said his colleagues were insisting that he and Lao had work relationship.

“I support our collective goal to find out the truth. But if we do not know how to listen, or, worse, if we already have a conclusion even before getting all the facts, then we have failed in providing the people true and accurate information. Aren’t we all for the truth? I am one with you here in the Committee,” Go said.

Pacquiao on corruption

Meanwhile, Pacquiao, during the same television interview, said he will resign if it is proven that there is no corruption in the governmet.

“Sa totoo lang, tanungin mo ang taumbayan, sabihin mo sa taumbayan na walang korapsyon na nangyayari, magre-resign po ako kung ganun sabihin na walang korapsyon sa gobyerno na nangyayari ngayon. Marami po,” he said.

(Ask the public. Ask them if there is no corruption in the government. I will resign if they say that there is no corruption happening in the government.)

Pacquiao said President Rodrigo Duterte should not defend those who were being linked to anomalies in government transactions.

In his last public address, Duterte defended his former economic presidential Michael Yang, the Chinese businessman who is being dragged into the controversy involving allegedly overpriced face masks and face shields procured by the DBM-PS.

Pacquiao has been at odds with  Duterte after he said that corruption has worsened under the current administration. He first earned the ire of Duterte when he criticized the president's stance on the West Philippine Sea issue.

The exchange of criticism between Pacquiao and Duterte has been a factor in the creation of two factions within the PDP-Laban.

Pacquiao is leading the group which was supported by PDP-Laban stalwart Aquilino Pimentel III, while the other faction was led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Pacquiao is being pushed by the Pimentel group to run for president in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Cusi group has nominated Go and Duterte to be their candidates for president and vice president, respectively, in the coming polls. --KBK, GMA News