Go not violating poll rules: Comelec chief

MANILA — There is nothing wrong with former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go accompanying President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes even as the May mid-term elections draw near.

“Walang problema doon for as long as he is not using the government’s fund. Ang pagsama nya that is his personal relationship with the President (There is no problem for as long as he is not using government funds. Him being with the president all around is his personal relationship with the President),” said Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sheriff Abas in his recent interview with CNN Philippines.

In a previous interview, Go has already addressed the issue, saying he has made a promise to President Duterte to attend to him at all times.

“Kung sunod man ako nang sunod, ito ay dahil sa pangako ko sa kanya, sa pamilya niya at sa lahat ng nagmamahal sa kanya. Hindi ito kawalan sa gobyerno dahil ginagawa ko ito sa personal ko na kapasidad. Walang pera ng gobyerno na nasayang at walang drug money na ginamit (I am following him because this is a promise – to him, to his family, and to all those who love him. The government is not losing anything because I am doing this in my personal capacity. No government fund is wasted, and no drug money is used),” Go said.

Go also reiterated that he has friends who support his campaign.

“Marami akong mga kaibigan na naniniwala sa aking ipinaglalaban at tumutulong sa akin na maghatid ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan na nabiktima ng sunog at iba pang uri ng trahedya (I have many friends who believe in what I am fighting for and help me in serving people who are victims of fire and other calamities),” he said.

Meanwhile, Abas said it is difficult to organize an official debate since there are 62 candidates vying for a seat in the Senate.

“Compared to the presidential race where only six competed, it is much harder with the mid-term elections since there are 62 of them,” the Comelec chief said, noting that the senatorial debates set up by private networks and other parties are not official.

“Ang ibang kandidato ang strategy nila ay through debate, depende sa diskarte ng bawat grupo (Other candidates made hosting debates their strategy, it depends on their plan),” Abas added.

Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, President Duterte’s daughter who chairs the administration-backed Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), earlier rejected the opposition’s Otso Diretso challenge to debate.

“Kung ang mga HNP-supported senators ay ang sun, ang HNP ay ang moon, sila po ay parang black hole. Very depressing, dark and very disorganized (If HNP supported senators are the sun; they [opposition’s Otso Diretso] are the moon, they are like a black hole),” she said.

“Gusto ko silang tulungan pero nag-decide ako na I will not share my light anymore sa kanila (They look like they need my help but I will no longer share my light with them anymore),” added the presidential daughter, citing she was wondering where the obsession with a debate was coming from. Christine Cudis/PNA-northboundasia.com