Early on in the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, in fact even before he was sworn in, it became clear that being close to him was going to be dangerous. People who hated Duterte – those whom he has displaced from politics, those whose illegal interests have been disrupted, and those whose comfortable lives have now been turned upside down – would stop at nothing to destroy him. And that means destroying those who are closest to him.
They tried to link Sec. Carlos Dominguez, one of the President’s closest friend and adviser, to mining. They went after his family, and even made fun of his grandson’s name. They are attacking Sec. Manny Piñol on trumped up charges. And now they are going after the President’s constant companion and close confidant, Sec. Christopher “Bong” Go for allegedly improperly using his influence in an on going case in Cebu.
People with vested interests in Duterte’s downfall are leading the attack against Go for the supposedly “special treatment” that the Cebu road rage suspect, Dennis Lim, Jr., was afforded by the Philippine National Police in region 7. According to those who are spreading these rumors, it was Lim’s connection with Go allowed him to be treated with kid’s gloves.
They are playing on the emotionally charged atmosphere surrounding the incident. Which, if you happen to see the video footage of, is admittedly enough for many normal people to want to hang the suspect themselves. While it is unfortunate that the audio is not available in the recording, what we have is still pretty explosive stuff. And this is what Go’s critics are counting on. That they would be able to stampede public opinion to turn against Go, and maybe eventually Duterte.
Now without touching in the merits of the charges against Lim, as I too have my own opinions on the matter, we can isolate Sec. Go’s participation in the matter. As far as we know, and this was confirmed by Sec. Martin Andanar in a text message from Thailand, Go does not know the suspect personally. His was an act, not to protect the suspect, but to allow for the processes of the law to take place.
We do not know who made the call to Go that prompted him to alert the PNP in region 7 of the surrender feelers being sent out by the suspect’s family. We do not know what was said and by whom that made the surrender possible. But what is clear to us is that the suspect surrendered without any further violence or bloodshed.
Furthermore, the suspect surrendered to the police, he did not do it in Malacañan like Janet Napoles. He did not get to talk to the President. And most importantly, he did not get to avoid jail.
So what the hell is the problem? Where, outside of the Liberal Party’s over fertile imaginations, was the special treatment? Because he was kept from jail – before any formal charge was made? If this is all the special treatment you can expect after a call from Go is made in your behalf, then you are better off not expecting any.
And besides, what exactly should Go – or any government official for that matter – do upon receiving information that a wanted suspect wanted to surrender? Ignore it? Was he supposed to tell them to just fuck off and let him be? Would that have been a more preferable solution? Maybe during the do-nothing, feel-nothing previous administration it would have been par for the course. But certainly not now.
While we are certain that Go will be able to weather this artificial shit storm that the LP and their allies are cooking up, we are also quite sure that the critics of Duterte will never, ever stop in trying to destroy the president.