Bong Go denies Alejano's claim of using gov't funds for his campaign t-shirts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go denied that government funds are being used for his campaign, particularly for the purchase of t-shirts for the participants of an assembly of the association of barangays (villages).

In a statement, Go said he is clueless about the t-shirts, which opposition senatorial candidate and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano claimed were part of a kit paid for by barangay officials using local funds.

"Tanungin na lang po nila ang organizers. Pakiusap ko po sa lahat na huwag niyo gamitin pangalan ko without my knowledge and consent," Go said Tuesday.

[Translation: They should just ask the organizers. I appeal to everyone not to use my name without my knowledge and consent.]

Go added that Alejano's accusations that local government funds were used to buy his alleged campaign t-shirts for the first national assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay (league of barangays) were "malicious" and called them "fake news."

Based on photos from the Malacañang, Go accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte to the event. Duterte even greeted him during his speech.

Alejano claimed the t-shirts were included in a kit paid for by participants to the assembly. Guidelines for the event show that barangay officials paid from ₱13,800 to ₱19,800 each, depending on their accommodation.

He sent to media a copy of a February 14 memorandum from the Interior department which states that barangay officials may use their local funds to pay for travel expenses and their registration fee.

"Ang panawagan ko ay tigilan na ni Bong Go ang pag-gamit sa mga kapitan at pondo ng gobyerno para sa personal niyang kampanya. Ito ay maliwanag na isang election offense," Alejano said.

[Translation: My call is for Bong Go to stop his use of barangay captains and government funds for his personal campaign. This is a clear election offense.]

However, nothing in the documents presented by Alejano clearly shows that the t-shirts were actually included in the kit and paid for using government money.

Go said he is well aware that using government funds would constitute as an election offense.

"Nag-iisip po ako at hindi po tayo bobo. [I do think and I am not stupid,]" he said.

In the same press statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also denied that government funds were used for Go's t-shirts, reportedly saying that he would never allow any irregularity in his department.

The Interior department told CNN Philippines in a text message that it is still looking into the facts of the issue.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio came to Go's defense, saying that she is sure that his father's longtime aide would not use government money to fund his campaign.

"Ang tagal na niya sa pulitika and probably ina-allow siya na mag-insert ng kaniyang t-shirt doon but 'yung source ng funds I can be very sure na hindi government 'yun," Duterte-Carpio said Tuesday at the sidelines of a Hugpong ng Pagbabago sortie in Antipolo City.

[Translation: He's been in politics for a very long time and probably he was allowed to insert his t-shirt there but the funds, I can be very sure that these didn't come from the government.]

Duterte-Carpio added that it would be best if Go would answer the accusations hurled at him Alejano. However, Go left the campaign sortie before media got to ask him questions.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.