MANILA – Malacañang is certain that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will fail in proving his “rehashed” plunder allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher "Bong" Go.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after Trillanes accused Duterte and Go of committing plunder amounting to PHP6.6 billion over public works contracts won by the construction firm owned by Go's family.
“Sa panahon ng pulitika, asahan po natin ang mga ganitong paratang, pero huwag po ninyong kakalimutan, iyong mga bumabato ngayon, ibinato na iyan na dati. Walang napatunayan noon, walang mapapatunayan ngayon, walang mapapatunayan bukas (At a time of politics, let us expect allegations like these but don’t forget that these accusations have been hurled before. Nothing was proven before, nothing will be proven today, and nothing will be proven tomorrow),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
He said Trillanes’ accusations were rehashed allegations he failed to prove in the past.
“Lumang tugtugin na po iyan. Eh binato na niya iyan kay Presidente, kay Senator Bong Go, hindi pa senador si Senator Bong Go, wala naman siyang napatunayan noong siya ay nakaupo pa sa Senado (That’s an old allegation. He wasn’t able to prove anything when he was still in the Senate),” he added.
Roque dared Trillanes to file charges against the two, noting that Duterte’s immunity from suit does not mean that he cannot be investigated.
Why wait for President’s term to end
If there is evidence, he said Trillanes should file the cases now and not wait for Duterte’s term to end in June next year.
“Bakit pa siya maghihintay ng pagkatapos ng termino, isampa na po niya ngayon. Kasi ang tinatawag nating sovereign immunity from suit, hindi naman po ibig sabihin, hindi magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon. Puwedeng mag-imbestiga (Why would he wait for the President’s term to end, he should file charges now. Because when you say sovereign immunity from suit, it doesn’t mean investigation cannot proceed. They can investigate),” he said.
Roque pointed out that Trillanes only had articles from online news site Rappler and media organization Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) which cannot be used as evidence.
“Ang problema kay Senator Trillanes, wala pong ebidensiya. Iyong mga ebidensiyang sinasabi niya laban kay Senator Bong Go – Rappler, PCIJ – eh wala naman pong tatanggap niyan (The problem with Trillanes is he has no evidence. His evidence comes from Rappler, PCIJ and the courts won’t accept those),” he said.
He explained that owning construction firms does not prove that Go’s family is guilty of corruption.
“Matagal na pong negosyo ng pamilya ni Bong Go, si Senator Bong Go ang pangongontrata para sa infrastructure projects. At tama naman, dalawang sinasabi niya ay may mga proyekto daw diumano mula taong 2007 pa, eh ano naman ang pakialam ni Senator Bong Go doon sa mga kontrata na 2007 pa? Mukhang naka-shorts pa noon si Senator Bong Go. (The family of Bong Go’s family has been in the business for a long time. And it’s true contracts go back as far as 2007, so what does he care about contracts during that time? He must have been wearing shorts at that time.),” Roque said, implying that Go was younger then.
Go earlier expressed confidence that Trillanes would not be able to substantiate his claim against him and Duterte.
“Sanay na tayo diyan. Maglalabas ng akusasyon, hindi naman kayang patunayan kasi puro imbento lang ang nalalaman (We’re used to it already. He will make an accusation which is baseless because all he knows is invent stories),” Go said.
In a video upload on YouTube, Trillanes claimed that construction firms owned by Go’s family had won government projects worth as much as PHP6.6 billion, specifically PHP1.5 billion when Duterte was still Davao City mayor and PHP5.1 billion on the first two years of his presidency. (PNA)