MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Thursday denied that he was associated with a former Budget official tagged in the undocumented transfer of PHP42 billion from the Department of Health to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“I wish to clarify that contrary to claims of some personalities and news outlets, former USec. Lloyd Christopher Lao of the DBM Procurement Services (DBM-PS) was never my aide. To call him such is inaccurate,” he said. “Lao did not directly report to me nor did he ever serve as my aide.”
Go clarified that Lao, who served as President Rodrigo Duterte’s volunteer election lawyer in 2016, was appointed to the Presidential Management Staff at the start of the Chief Executive’s term until early 2017.
He added that Lao was then appointed to Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board and later tapped to lead DBM-PS.
Go’s clarification came after his name was linked to Lao, who was then the head of DBM-PS when the Department of Health fund transfer happened without proper documentation.
Senators have sought the explanation of Lao, who resigned as DBM-PS chief in June this year, on the questionable transfer of the PHP42 billion budget to DBM.
As chair of Senate Committee on Health and member of the Blue Ribbon Committee, Go backed plans to conduct an inquiry into the utilization of funds for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response efforts.
“As a legislator and member of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, I support the efforts to probe how public funds were spent in our country’s Covid-19 response,” he said.
Go said he would also join his fellow senators in looking into the COA’s 2020 audit report on DBM-PS “by all means” to ferret out the truth.
“Kung kailangang ipatawag si Lao sa susunod na mga pagdinig, gawin natin upang magkaroon ng kaliwanagan (And if we need to summon Lao in the next hearings, we will do that to seek clarification), once and for all,” he said.
Go emphasized that just like Duterte, he has zero tolerance for corruption.
“Let me reiterate that my position against graft and corruption has been firm and consistent — President Duterte and I will never tolerate any form of it. Kahit sino ka man, kahit saan ka man nanggaling, basta may anomalyang mapatunayan ay dapat may mananagot (Whoever you, wherever you come from, you should be held accountable if you are proven involved in anomaly),” Go said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA)