By Genalyn Kabiling
Believing it was time for his assistant to “shine” and “level up,” President Duterte has pledged full support for Christopher “Bong” Go if he decides to run for senator in next year’s elections.
“I will support Bong Go to the hilt,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said quoting the President.
Go, who has served as Duterte’s assistant since 1998, is one of the three administration officials who received the President’s endorsement during a meeting in Malacañang last Tuesday night. The two others were Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, according to Andanar.
Andanar, one of the Cabinet men trying to convince Go to throw his hat in the political ring, said the Special assistant to the President could easily win in the next year’s elections, citing his “very extensive” experience in public service alongside Duterte.
“It’s about time for SAP Bong Go to shine, to go up, grow more and level up and he will not stop him. Instead, he will support Bong Go to the hilt,” Andanar said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum in Manila.
“I believe that SAP Bong Go’s vote will be the vote for the President. He is very winnable and my fearless forecast is he will land one to three slot,” he added.
With the President’s promise of support, Andanar said it was now up to Go to decide whether or not he would run for senator.
Andanar admitted that he and other friends of Go saw his potential as a senator following his his appearance at the Senate inquiry into the Philippine Navy’s frigate acquisition program.
“When Bong Go spoke there, overwhelmingly he really passed with flying colors and we saw the personality of SAP Bong Go during the hearing,” he said.
Go previously said he was not interested in running for public office, opting to serve as the President’s assistant. But he later appeared to have changed his mind when he mentioned that any political run would depend on the President’s decision.
Meantime, Andanar said the President has also expressed support for two other potential senatorial candidates in the Cabinet.
“Last (Tuesday) night also, the President said he has two or three Cabinet members that he’s supporting for the Senate. Apart from Bong Go, Harry Roque and Francis Tolentino have also been mentioned,” Andanar said.
Andanar acknowledged that survey results would be taken into consideration in fielding prospective candidates in the next year’s Senate race.
“If we will field persons who are not included in the surveys, we are wasting our resources, time, energy, money. We want to field candidates who can win, we don’t want to field candidates who will lose,” he said.
Reacting to the President’s statement, Roque candidly admitted that he lacks money to mount a senatorial campaign.
“Don’t have P500M. I thank him for the support but awanti kwarta! [I don’t have the money],” he said.