Ex-Navy chief clears Bong Go

Former Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, cleared Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go anew saying the latter never paid any special attention or interest in the Navy’s P18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP).

“Ilang beses kami na magkasama ni Secretary Bong Go, ilang beses kaming mag kausap ah. In fact, pag nag-escort ako kay President (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) aboard foreign navy ships gaya nung sa China, Pakistan, Japan, ni isang beses ‘di kami nag-usap tungkol sa Navy frigate project,” Mercado said in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas on Saturday.

Mercado issued this clarification in wake of reports alleging that Go made an effort to intervene in the project.

“Hindi niya ako tinanong, hindi niya nga kinukumusta yung nangyayari dun. Ganun ho din si President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, hindi niya tinatanong, yun communications ko tungkol sa frigate lahat papunta lang sa GHQ (General Headquarters) and DND (Department of National Defense) So basta on my side kung may magtatanong, wala ho kaming diskusyon ni Secretary Bong Go tungkol dun sa frigate,” the former Navy chief added.

Also, the issues concerning the FAP were very technical and complex and it would have taken him nearly a day to explain it, should the official ask him about it, Mercado added.
He also pointed out that all his statements are factual and not aimed at defending or clearing Go and Duterte.

“Basta yung statement ko lang, Sir, eh factual and never na kinausap nila ako tungkol sa frigate. Basta on my side, sa tagal ko naging FOIC, sa tagal naming nagkikita never na tinanong ako or even na kinamusta kung ano ang nangyayari sa frigate, in fact on Navy Day last year dun namin ginanap sa Davao where I invited the President kasama si Secretary Bong Go sa Navy ship namin na bago, BRP Davao Del Sur. Doon din habang andun eh wala naman tinanong sila tungkol sa frigate or even the other Navy project. So as far as I am concerned, people will ask me, they never intervened as far as sa akin on any of the modernization project of the PN, di lang yung frigate, maski nga yung ibang project namin. Di sila nagtatanong,” Mercado stressed.

Earlier, the DND cleared Go of any interference in the FAP following reports claiming that the latter intervened with the project.

 

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