PRRD makes own decisions to secure welfare of Filipinos
NATIONAL Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stood firm in emphasizing that retired Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.’s claims that President Rodrigo Duterte was being controlled by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, or anyone for that matter, is baseless.
“In the years I have known the President, he has always been his own man. The President stands by his own decisions, has always been firm in his directives to us who are working for him, and is not as easily swayed or influenced by others as purported by the general,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
According to Sec. Lorenzana, Bong Go has assisted the DND in ensuring the doubling of the salaries of the uniformed personnel as directed by the President. He has also been consistent in strongly supporting DND in all its programs and modernization efforts as attested by the defense secretary.
“In all these endeavors, Bong Go’s support to the DND and AFP has not abated. He has always been our main bridge to the President and I have not known any instance when SBG acted outside the wishes and decisions of the President,” Lorenzana emphasized.
Lorenzana added that the AFP remains a professional organization that continues to work in the interest of the Filipino people, regardless of the prevailing political landscape.
“There is no truth to the allegations that there is brewing trouble or discontent in the AFP,” Lorenzana clarified.
Meanwhile, Go also refuted former counterinsurgency task force spokesperson Parlade’s claim that he ‘controls’ President Duterte’s decisions, noting that he just assists in ensuring that such decisions are implemented well.
“Nasagot na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na walang nagkokontrol sa kanya, may mga statement siya, siya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman siya magiging pangulo kung pinapaikot lang siya ng ibang tao. Matalino po ‘yang Pangulong Duterte, naging pangulo nga ‘yan eh at iginagalang,” said Go in a radio interview on Monday, November 15.
“So desisyon niya po ‘yan, tanging siya lang po ang gumagawa ng kanyang magagandang desisyon, at tumutulong lang po ako sa kanya mula po noon. Hanggang ngayon tumutulong pa rin po ako sa kanya. Pero hindi ibig sabihin eh ako po ang nagde-desisyon,” he added.
Go cited the increasing the salaries of the uniformed personnel as one of these decisions that benefitted the armed forces, among others.
In 2018, President Duterte signed Congress Joint Resolution No. 1 which doubled the base pay of a private in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, police officer I in the Philippine National Police, and equivalent ranks in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.
“Halimbawa, nabanggit kanina ni Gen. Parlade maraming mga desisyon at isa narito ang pagdoble at pagtaas ng suweldo ng ating mga uniformed personnel na nakabuti sa, nakakabuti sa morale ng lahat ng kasapi ng Armed Forces, PNP, Bureau of Fire (Protection), BJMP at Coast Guard,” said Go.
“Sa totoo lang po, ako ang inutusan ni Pangulong Duterte dahil nangako siya noong 2016 at naisakatuparan nitong 2018, pinaghirapan natin ito sa legislation, sa executive, pinirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte. Ngayon po doble ang sahod ng entry position ng Armed Forces at iba pang uniformed personnel,” he added.
While he said he has no rift with Go, Parlade told the media on Monday that he “cannot align with a President Bong Go.”
“I don’t like the way he does things, including controlling the decisions of the president,” Parlade claimed.
Go, on the other hand, said that he does not want to argue with Parlade and that he continues to respect him.
“Ayaw ko na pong makipagsagutan kay Gen. Parlade dahil nirerespeto ko siya. At sa katunayan po nakakausap ko naman po ‘yan siya. Isa rin po ako sa nagrekomenda sa kanya na maging Undersecretary ni Sec. (Hermogenes) Esperon at alam nila ang katotohanan,” said Go.
“Umiinit na po ang pulitika pero hayaan natin ang taumbayan ang humusga pagdating ng panahon. Katulad ng sinabi ko, mas kailangan nating tutukan ang pagtulong sa ating kapwa Pilipino habang tayo’y unti-unti bumabangon mula sa krisis na ito,” he added.
In the meantime, Go added that despite his candidacy, he will continue to focus on his duties and responsibilities as a public servant and work to assist the country overcome the pandemic.
“Ako, uunahin ko po parati ang kung ano po ang makakabuti sa gobyerno at para sa bayan — interes po ng mga kababayan natin. Serbisyo lang ako at ipaglalaban ko parati ang interes at kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino,” he ended.