WE STAND by our story and take exception to the statement of Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go that our report on the multibillion-peso civil works contracts that the firms of his father and half-brother was “fake news” and “biased reporting.”
PCIJ had sought out the side of Go and his family members as early as June 21, 2018, and via email and phone calls, followed up with his staff.
PCIJ also furnished Bong Go an interview guide, to inform him abut the findings of PCIJ’s research.
On field work in Davao City also in June, PCIJ reporters purposely visited the offices of CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders — companies owned by Go’s father Deciderio and half-brother Alfredo Go, respectively — to interview them for the story.
Last Monday, Sept. 3, on Bong Go’s intercession, Deciderio, Alfredo Go, younger sister Maritess ‘Ali’ G. de Leon, and a lawyer met with PCIJ reporters for an interview.
PCIJ had patiently waited for over two months to get the side of Bong Go and his family members before the story ran.
We regret, however, that we could not grant a request they made for their companies not to be included anymore in the story.
The PCIJ report was explicit: We did not find any contracts that CLTG Builders and Alfrego Buidlers had secured from the local government of Davao City, but that we also found nearly PhP4.6 billion in civil works contracts that the two firms had won from the Department of Public Works and Highways from 2007 to 2017, on their own or in joint ventures with bigger contractors.
Here is the full text of the statement of Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go on the PCIJ’s story:
“I find myself once again a victim of fake news and biased reporting. PCIJ is raising malicious issues against me based purely on unsubstantiated allegations and hasty conclusions. These false news, guised as “investigative reports”, seem to be politically motivated as the reports suspiciously surfaced around the same time when some groups had clamored for my senate bid. To draw attention to their article, PCIJ and gma news on line still maliciously bannered this in its headlines: “Firms of Bong Go kin, top contractor: Many JVs, delayed” and “ firm of bong go’s relatives “ despite the fact that PCIJ admitted my non-involvement in said businesses. My father has been in the industry long before I was born. Out of delicadeza, he did not bid in the projects of the City Government of Davao in all the 15 years when PRRD was mayor. When my father and half brother participated in the bidding of projects, either as sole contractor or as JV partner, they were just exercising their rights. Being related to me does not disqualify them to bid. These projects are publicly bidded anyway. I never intervened nor influenced the DPWH on how they bid or award these projects. My office does not control DPWH to begin with. I have never been involved in corruption in the government. I have protected my name over the years. If anyone can prove that I spoke with DPWH or any other agency involved in the funding of these projects, I will resign immediately!”