Now, we can put the fake news that Senator Bong Go has anything to do with Joyride, and the implications that he has been playing an unfair role against pioneer servicer Angkas, to rest. The fake news got a little bit right – it was a Senator putting his nose where it doesn’t belong. But it’s Senator Koko Pimentel, not Senator Bong Go, who backed Joyride.
Senator Koko is in hot water over a recently surfaced old letter which revealed his support for motorcycle taxi hailing app Joyride. The letter expressed the Senator’s endorsement of Joyride to be included in the already underway motorcycle taxi initial pilot run. Thankfully, the Department of Transportation did not heed the inappropriate endorsement.
The letter was revealed during a press briefing held by the Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP).
“Anong kinalaman ng isang senador sa approval ng isang government agency sa kanilang application to be included in the pilot program? Nababahiran ng dungis ‘yung ginawa ng senador,” said Mangahas.
The LCSP further cleared Senator Bong Go of any involvement in Joyride, putting the final nail in the coffin for fake news purveyors who were quick to blame even the faintest whiff of government wrongdoing on the President’s ally.
In fact, it was the allegations leveled against Go which moved the LCSP to investigate into the matter. During this inquiry, the lawyer group uncovered a copy of Pimentel’s endorsement letter.
Further evidence of Pimentel’s involvement was presented during the press briefing, including a Google Maps photo which placed Pimentel’s photo and signature proudly displayed next to the “huge” Marikina site which soon became Joyride’s onboarding facility.
According to Atty. Trixie Mangahas, Pimentel may have violated Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Though Pimentel is a Senator, he is not free to interfere in the affairs of the Executive branch. The Department of Transportation rightly ignored his endorsement as this was a grave overstep into the implementing agency’s business.
Pimentel could have also violated Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for attempting to act as a go-between for Joyride and the Department of Transportation. Unfortunately for Pimentel, his efforts failed to gain a positive response from the Department of Transportation and Secretary Tugade.