President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his confidence in the senatorial campaign of his former top aide, SAP Christopher “Bong” Go. Go filed his certificate of candidacy on October 16, officially expressing his intent to run in the 2019 mid-term elections.
“O ‘di nakita mo ngayon si Bong Go senador na. O totoo (You see, Bong Go is now a senator). He will win. He will win,” Duterte said in a speech delivered during the concluding ceremonies of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBCE) at the Manila Hotel.
As early as February this year, Go’s name was coming up in discussions about possible senatorial aspirants.
The senatorial investigation on the Philippine Navy frigate deal, in which opposition senators asked Go to appear in the inquiry because of his alleged intervention of the deal, is seen as one of the sparks that began the noise around Go. Go has vehemently denied his alleged intervention.
President Duterte had previously put forward to Go the idea of him running as senator, as the commander-in-chief has great faith in Go’s capabilities. President Duterte reportedly urged Go to use the Senate investigation as a stepping stone to acquiring his own Senate seat.
“Kita mo. Nakita mo (You see) how fate play — destiny of men are played. Hindi kilala ‘yan. Mas kilala ‘yung nagpatawag sa kanya. O tingnan mo ngayon. (He is not popular. Those who summoned him were more popular. So now you see.) You weigh the scales of their character,” Duterte said.
Go has served as Duterte’s special assistant for over two decades, from President Duterte’s terms as mayor of Davao city for 23 yeaars until his victory in the 2016 elections as the first President from Mindanao.
The endorsement from Duterte carries significant weight, as the President himself still enjoys high satisfaction ratings nationwide. According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the administration’s senatorial candidates stand “very good” chances in the coming elections.
“Given the popularity of the President, the chances of these senatorial candidates of the administration certainly are very good,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing on Thursday.
According to Panelo, the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), is still finalizing its senatorial slate. Panelo also stressed that the administration’s senatorial aspirants would need to rely on “their own credentials” and not just the President’s endorsement.
“It’s being finalized now. The PDP-Laban, allied with Hugpong (Hugpong ng Pagbabago). We will make the official announcement. Of course the announcement will be coming from the PDP-Laban and Hugpong,” he said.
Other former cabinet members who filed their COCs for senator include Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.