Bong Go never meddled in P18B warship deal – fired Vice Admiral Mercado

According to the report of Rappler last January 16, President Rodrigo Duterte's right hand man, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher ‘Bong’ Go intervened in the multi-billion-peso project to acquire two brand new frigates or warships for the Philippine Navy (PN).
But according to former Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Ronaldo Joseph Mercado, ‘Bong’ Go never asked anything about the Philippine Navy’s P18 billion Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP).

“This morning, my attention was caught by the reports when I saw a piece of paper, a ‘post it’, with my name on it, about an instruction given to me by the Secretary of National Defense about the Frigate, and apparently because of that there were insinuations about Secretary Bong Go, and you know I just like to come out because, on my side when I was FOIC (flag officer in command), he never once, with so many times, we were together in many foreign navy ships, and there was never an instance, not once that he even asked me about the frigate, never, and kaya when I’m hearing the news, well on my side only, he never intervened much more talk to me about these things,” he said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana relieved Mercado from his post last Dec. 18, 2017, citing loss of trust and confidence on the integrity and leadership of the naval officer.

Reporter asked Mercado on whether Lorenzana told or ordered him to do something about the FAP, upon the alleged orders of the SAP.
“Let me rephrase Secretary Bong Go never directly mentioned to me anything about the Frigate or indirectly from another person, I never heard any other person mention the name of Secretary Bong Go in relation to the frigates, walang ganun.” Mercado said.

President Duterte top aid said he would quit his post if proven he had indeed intervened in the selection of critical equipment for the Philippine Navy’s two brand new frigates.

For his part, Go denied having ever seen the document or handing it over to Lorenzana.

“I have never  seen the controversial document that is alleged to have come from me, much less, handed the same to SND Lorenzana.  In fact, I will resign if it can be proven that I intervened,” Go said.

“My name has been unfairly dragged in this issue. I  am not privy to the frigate transaction of the DND,” he said.

Bong Go emphasized that the frigate project “was already a done deal in 2016 during the time of former President (Benigno) Aquino (III).”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the acquisition memorandum for the project was entered into on June 7, 2013.

On Jan. 24, 2016, the final technical specifications for the  procurement of the frigates was approved.

Roque added that the bids for the project were submitted and opened on March 16, 2016.

“On June 9, 2016 — prior to the term of President Duterte— after full qualification has been completed, the winning bidder was appointed,” Roque said.

“Now on June 30, as you all know, the President assumed office and the only involvement of the Duterte administration in this regard is the ministerial issuance of the notice of award,” he added.

He also said Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano should go after Aquino administration officials if the frigates were of “inferior technology.”

“It was the Aquino administration that undertook the bidding and chose the winning bidder. This administration only issued the notice of award, which was ministerial. Blame the P-Noy administration then,” Roque said.

“Tell Alejano to vent his ire on his yellow friends, please,” he added.


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