MANILA - Senator Bong Go on Thursday maintained that his assets and liabilities only amounted to millions, even if President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he was a billionaire.
Duterte had repeatedly defended Go from allegations of corruption and involvement in the illegal drug trade by saying that his former aide was a billionaire, but Senate records showed that the former Special Assistant to the President was the second poorest senator with a net worth of P15.5 million.
"Hindi ako bilyonaryo," Go told Senate reporters.
"Alam niyo naman si Pangulo lagi naman nagbibiro. He was referring sa pamilya [ko] as a whole. Ibig niya sabihin may kaya ang pamilya nito," he said, noting that his family owned a printing press business.
Among the elected senators, Go was the top campaign spender in the 2019 midterm elections with his ad and sortie bills pegged at P161.41 million, according to the Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) he filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The senator spent only P415,500 from his own pocket as his campaign contributions amounted to P162 million.
"Nung campaign, ako po yung closest to the President [kaya] ako 'yung pinakamaraming gustong tumulong," he said.
(So many people wanted to help me.)
Go shrugged off comments that his net worth could significantly increase now that he is an elected official.
"Hindi ako tumakbo bilang senador para makipagpayamanan," he said.
(I did not run for public office so I could get rich.)
"If I am the poorest so be it. Payamanan na lang po tayo sa serbisyo, paramihan ng serbisyo at pasipagan," he said.