Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go was the guest of honor during the 118th Balangiga Encounter held Saturday (Sept.28). Go, seen here with the three historic bells placed inside the gardens of the Saint Lawrence the Martyr Church, was joined by Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone and Rep. Maria Fe Abunda. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)

In the occasion of the 118th Balangiga Encounter anniversary

BALANGIGA, Eastern Samar-In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to ban US senators to enter the country who earlier sought in prohibiting Filipino officials who were involved in the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima to come to the US.
Go, a most trusted ally of the President, issued this statement in a speech during the 118th anniversary of Balangiga Encounter held Saturday (Sept.29) at the town’s gymnasium.
According to Go, the act of US Senators Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin was a clear “interference to the internal affairs” of the Philippines.
“I condemned this act of handful US senators for seeking to ban officials of the Philippine government involved in the detention of Sen.Leila de Lima entering from the US. This is an affront to our sovereignty and to our ability to govern ourselves,”Go said in his speech.
“I will suggest to President Duterte to also ban these senators in entering our country for interfering our internal affairs,”the senator added.
Sen. Go said that de Lima is detained by virtue of a “lawful order by an independent court” whose decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
The two US senators earlier passed a resolution seeking the prohibition banning US officials involved in the detention of de Lima, a known staunch critic of Duterte.
“Hindi tayo nanhihimasok sa kanila.Ngayon, nakikialam sila,”the senator said in a brief interview who maintains that the senator is not a political prisoner.
Meantime, Sen.Go said that he welcomes the return of the three bells artifacts to the town after being deposited in a US Naval base.
He mainly credited the President for the return of the bells to the town last December 15, 2018.
This year’s commemorative program is the first time ever that the people of Balangiga marks the historic event considered to be the single defeat by the American forces during the Filipino-American war.
For Enrique Valenzuela,15, said that while he could not understand the historical meaning on the return of the bells, he is still happy to see it personally.
“I’m just happy to see the bells myself,” the Grade 8 student said.
The bells are temporarily placed at the garden of the St. Lawrence the Martyr church.
For Eulogia Amano, grandniece of Captain Valeriano Abanador who led the uprising, she now feel “relax.”
“When the bells were returned last year here in our hometown, we were happy and overwhelmed. Now, we feel relax because they are now with us forever,”the 80 year old retired school principal said.
Go, joined by Eastern Samar Gov.Ben Evardone and Rep.Ma.Fe Abunda, offered wreath to the statue of Abandor.
Earlier, the Church honored the 113 locals who were part of the uprising 118 years ago by mentioning their names one by one during a Holy Mass held at 6 am.
The 73 American soldiers who also died in the uprising were also mentioned in the same occasion.