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Walang ethics! Bong Go could be held liable for being ‘epal,’ says ex-Comelec commissioner

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Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go may not be charged with premature campaigning according to jurisprudence, but he could be held liable for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials over the posters and other materials bearing his name.

In an interview over ANC on September 14, Former Commission on Elections Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal explained that Go could be charged with violating RA 6713 because of the benefits he is getting from the distribution and display of materials bearing his name, such as cellphones, shirts and tarpaulins.

“If that is to gain something there’s already something wrong there. May mali na diyan,” he said.

Asked whether the materials could be considered as gifts to Go since he has denied involvement in their production, Larrazabal said the law is clear that a government official could be held liable if he or she benefits from them.

While the former poll body commissioner acknowledged that some politikos can get away with putting their names on ongoing infrastructure projects, he says there are limits to self-promotion.

“It depends on the threshold of being an epal of one particular person,” he said.

Larrazabal acknowledged, however, that Go and other vain politikos should be given the benefit of doubt.

“We have to give them the benefit of the doubt and if they don’t want it, you can call them,” he said, adding that it will be up to the courts and individuals to decide whether a violation of the law has been committed about the presence of materials promoting oneself.

Go has been coy about his plan to run for senator in 2019 even though he is busy going around the country to be photographed helping the needy.