Duterte’s ‘special assistant’ denies involvement in distribution of cell phones with his name

The cellphones with images of Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte drawn on the box. Photo via ABS-CBN.

Finally, the man has spoken.

Christopher “Bong” Go, President Rodrigo Duterte’s always-visible special assistant, has denied his involvement in the alleged distribution of cell phones at a recent meeting of Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) officials in the presidential palace, Malacañang. Photos of the cell phones went viral earlier this week.

The cell phones, which were Cherry Mobile Desire R6 Plus, were allegedly inside the loot bag given to the officers. Each phone sells for PHP3,899 online (USD$72.86) and comes with a box that shows an illustration of Go with the president.

Printed on the box was the slogan: “Bong Go na tayo” (Let’s go for Bong Go).

In an SMS interview with ABS-CBN, Go said: “I don’t know where they were made and who gave these T-shirts, notebooks, relief goods, and even cell phones and shoes.”

Presumably, these came from his supporters, so Go asked them to stop distributing such items. “To people who are giving them away, thank you for your help. But please, don’t put my name and face [on the gifts],” he said.

He added: “Don’t politicize helping people because critics are complaining about your charity work.”

READ: Duterte assistant dubbed ‘selfie king’ now a hilarious Facebook filter

Go has long been rumored to be planning to run for the senate in the 2019 elections, a rumor which he refuses to confirm.

If he does have political ambitions, he’ll be in for an uphill battle — a recently released survey showed him ranking at 23 — 31, which won’t be enough because only the top 12 candidates will be chosen to serve the senate.

Yet even if he has been lagging behind other candidates, this may not be enough to convince Go to lay low.

Earlier this month, he distributed relief goods in Legarda, Manila to families whose homes were destroyed by a fire.

In an interview with radio station DZMM, he said: “I have friends in the private sector, a foundation that give away goods that are colored green. And me, I [give away] shoes via my program, Sapatos ni SAP (Special Assistant to the President), Tsinelas ang Ka-Swap (SAP’s Shoes, Swap Them With Slippers).”

And then there’s that catchy promotional jingle produced by rap group Ex-Battalion, which described Go as “hardworking, simple, humble.”

So we’re expecting to see more of Go’s name in the future — whether in another loot bag or viral rap song.

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