Filipino netizens are insulted by an incendiary remark made over the weekend by a high-ranking government official. But this time, it was not said by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s “special assistant,” was interviewed on Saturday where he lambasted his and the president’s critics. In a mix of English and Filipino, he said: “My question to my and the president’s critics, what have you done, how have you helped other Filipinos? Please answer. All you do is talk.”
Bong Go: Ang tanong ko naman po sa mga kritiko namin ni pangulo, kayo ano bang nagawa ninyo, ano bang naitulong ninyo sa mga kapwa Pilipino? Sagutin niyo naman po. Puro lang kayo dada | @RexRemitio
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) July 21, 2018
This did not sit well with former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, one of the president’s most vocal critics.
Hilbay, the lawyer of Duterte’s nemesis Senator Leila de Lima, answered: “Taught constitutional law in UP [University of the Philippines] for 15 years; worked w/ Sen. [Jovito] Salonga on anti-corruption & judicial oversight; defended the RH [Reproductive Health] law in the Supreme Court; secured 71 Billion in coconut levy funds for farmers; served as counsel for the Republic in Phils vs. China. I’m just answering your question.”
Taught constitutional law in UP for 15 years; worked w/ Sen. Salonga on anti-corruption & judicial oversight; defended the RH law in the Supreme Court; secured 71 Billion in coconut levy funds for farmers; served as counsel for the Republic in Phils vs.
Sumasagot lang po. https://t.co/gIp7GHmXKw
— florin hilbay (@fthilbay) July 22, 2018
Lawyer Mel Sta. Maria, the dean of Far Eastern University’s law school, was also having none of Go’s comment.
He wrote in a mix of Filipino and English: “Mr. Bong Go, with regards to your question on what people or critics have done for the country, I have answered this already, I will repeat it. Read it and understand it.”
He added: “We have our own respective ROLES in this society and whenever we do our best to make society work and the economy run, whatever and however done — no matter how small — we are already WORKING for the country and helping solve its problems in our own limited way.”
Netizens on Twitter are not very happy either. Referring to Go’s love for taking selfies, user @zodylogan wrote: “[W]ell, we pay you to take selfies with the president, and im not even sure if that counts as helping the country.”
well, we pay you to take selfies with the president, and im not even sure kung pagtulong ba yun sa bansa
— zodysaurus #SOanuNA (@zodylogan) July 21, 2018
@barnabychuck answered: “Bong Go asking again what we’ve done for our country. That tired old question. So maybe we should ask him another tired old question, ‘Who’s in public service? Who ran for public office?’ I’m sick of that question. Can’t he ask something smarter?”
Bong Go asking again what we’ve done for our country. That tired old question. So maybe we should ask him another tired old question, “Who’s in public service? Who ran for public office?” Kakasawa na yan tanong niya. Wala na bang mas matalinong tanong?
— Barnaby Lo (@barnabychuck) July 21, 2018
@nuelleduterte called Go a “little minion.”
Bong Go has the gall to ask critics of Digong what we contribute to the PH? We over here contribute to the economy, little minion. That kind of arrogance is ugly and gives us all a glimpse of what’s inside him. Ick.
— Nuelle (@nuelleduterte) July 21, 2018
@MrFrankBaraan wanted to ask Go instead: “Is serving a tyrant, who promotes a culture of violence, creates a climate of fear, & kills his own [people], [considered] service to [the] country?”
Bong Go asks Duterte’s critics what we’ve been doing for the country, apart from running our mouths & criticizing his boss.
Ibalik natin tanong sa kanya.
Is serving a tyrant, who promotes a culture of violence, creates a climate of fear, & kills his own ppl, service to country?
— Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) July 22, 2018
@MaricirsDec09, however, thinks Go’s question is valid. “That only shows that they’re guilty. There are few of them (critics). Majority of [F]ilipinos do believe (sic) under the leadership of President Duterte.”
Very well said SAP Bong Go. That only shows guilty lahat sila. Konti lang yan sila (kritiko). Majority of filipinos do believe under the leadership of President Duterte.
— Mary Chris Cabante (@MaricrisDec09) July 21, 2018
Go has long been rumored to have plans for running for senator in 2019, which he refuses to confirm. That didn’t stop rap group Ex-Battalion however from releasing a promotional jingle that called Go “hardworking, simple, and humble.”
Cellphones bearing his image and name have also been distributed at a function for youth leaders in Malacañang Palace. Go, however, denied having anything to do with their distribution.