Frigate deal inquiry ‘waste of time’: journalist

DAVAO CITY — The Senate probe on the alleged involvement by Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go into Navy’s deal to purchase warships was a waste of time, a veteran journalist said on Tuesday.

“I respect my friends in the Senate but it’s a waste of time,” said Luisito ‘Cito’ Beltran, columnist of The Philippine Star, in an open forum of the ongoing first National Information Convention (NIC) at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City.

“I have seen the accusations against Bong Go and I said, are hearsay and allegation can be used as basis for investigation? Is this now the quality of the Senate?” he added.

Beltran made this comment when asked for his assessment when Go labeled as fake news the Rappler’s story linking him to Frigate acquisition project based on so-called white paper.

Go has denied the reports of Rappler and Philippine Daily Inquirer that he meddled in the selection of the Combat Management System (CMS) supplier for two warships of the Philippine Navy.

“It’s very simple. If you have evidence bring it to the police. Why bring it to the newspapers. Is it your job to print? Unless you’ve seen it yourself, unless there is verification, undeniable evidence with string of testimonies and witnesses, you’re just assuming that left said the truth and right said the wrong,” Beltran explained.

He said the problem with the media nowadays is that they use half of their time screwing up the country.

“I wrote it in my column, we have taken it too far. People would tell me, ‘Cito it’s our job to be Fourth Estate, to be the critic, we need critical thinking.’ I said, the problem is you got stuck at critic and forget about thinking. You are all critics and that’s why we become a country of critics,” he explained.

Beltran said he would rather be called “praise release person than a skeptic who achieves nothing.”

Go also got support from senators with Senator Loren Legarda saying the Senate investigation has wasted the time of President Rodrigo Duterte’s long-time aide.

“With all due respect, I think we’re wasting the time of Secretary Go sitting here because it is very clear, that he has nothing to do with it. I’m not pre-judging the ships’ central management system,” Legada said during Monday’s Senate probe.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, described Go as man of integrity who does his job “judiciously and religiously.”