PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will fully support the senatorial bid of his special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, if he decides to run in 2019, a Malacañang spokesman said on Wednesday.
“I believe that SAP (Special Assistant to the President) Bong Go’s vote is the vote for the President also. He is winnable. My fearless forecast is he will land [on the first to third]slots,” Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said during the Kapihan sa Adriatico forum.
Andanar quoted Duterte as saying that he would “support Bong Go to the hilt.”
The President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, also endorsed the senatorial candidacy of Go who had promised to serve the President “until death.”
Even before Go himself could make the announcement, Andanar and other Cabinet members have organized a campaign to encourage him to run, a month after the President’s trusted aide appeared before a Senate inquiry to deny any hand in the controversy over the Philippine Navy’s purchase of two frigates.
“[Go’s] appearance before the Senate showed his mettle. The people witnessed his true character as he exemplified the qualities of a good leader. Someone who is true to core, upright, loyal and honest,” Andanar said in a statement.
“This is like what happened in 2015, when [then-]Mayor Duterte was encouraged to run [for the Presidency]. Now, Bong is being encouraged to run for a senatorial seat,” he added.
Besides Go, the President is also endorsing the Senate bids of his spokesman, Secretary Harry Roque Jr., and former political adviser Francis Tolentino, the former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman, Andanar said.
Supporters of Go officially launched the “Ready, Set, Go” movement in Manila on Wednesday in support of Go’s likely senatorial bid.
In a message to reporters, Go said he could not just set aside the overwhelming support and encouragement of Duterte.
But it was too early to talk politics, he said.
“For the Mayor (President Duterte) to say that he will support me to the hilt if I decide to run is more than I could ask for. For him to say that he also wants me to seek a higher post, to prove something to myself and that I could also grow, only shows how unselfish Mayor Rody is. I am deeply humbled by his inspiring words,” Go said.
“But like I said, it is still too early to talk about politics. I will work for the President and the country for now. As I said [during my visit]in Senate and ever since, I will serve Mayor Rody until the day I die,” he added.
“I thank Sec. Andanar, my colleagues in government, friends and supporters for your kind gesture. Rest assured that my decision would be made known in time. I call on all of you to support our president at all cost. I will not leave him,” Go said. “I would like to remain as your SAP, or senator and assistant to the president. Or SAP, senator and assistant to the people.”
with RALPH U. VILLANUEVA