Palace maintains Rappler peddles ‘fake news’


MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday maintained that it still considers as fake news Rappler’s report on the alleged intervention of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go in the PHP18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP) of the Philippine Navy.

“We still maintain it is fake news because witnesses already clarified under oath that Bong Go did not intervene,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

In a Senate inquiry on Monday, Go lamented the “irresponsible reporting” of Rappler, an online news site, noting that he became a “victim of fake news”.

Go denied that he meddled with the warship deal and favored Hanwha of South Korea over Tacticos Thales of the Netherlands, saying that it was a done deal during the end of the Aquino administration.

Former Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command (FOIC), Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, has also confirmed that Go never interfered in the warships deal.

Mercado was referring to allegations that Go tried to meddle in the acquisition of the Combat Management System (CMS) for the two missile-capable frigates.

Rappler, in a statement on its site, insisted that they had “authenticated documents” to prove that Go was indeed involved in the warship deal.

However, Roque said the documents Rappler used merely confirmed that the government was acting on a complaint.

“There is no involvement there. What the documents prove was that there was a complaint, it was referred for attention and that’s the full extent of what you claim to be intervention,” Roque said.

“Your intervention contemplates favoring one company over another but it was very clear that there was a complaint, it was referred to the line agency because that is what we do. That is not intervention to favor a company,” he added.

Roque slammed Rappler for “editorializing” stories, saying that the document did not even emanate from Go.

“Your story failed when the most interested party in this controversy when (former FOIC Vice Admiral) Mercado belied claim of intervention. That’s why Malacañang said fake news,” he added.

On Monday, Roque pointed out that Go was “fearful” of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to even try to intervene in the warship deal.

“I know SAP Go as a person of integrity. His main wish is to serve the President and this country. He is absolutely loyal to this President. He is also fearful of this president so he will not try anything,” Roque said.