Go at the crossroads: Pres. Duterte’s chosen successor contemplates “final decision” on presidential run

PDDS standard bearer says he’s praying for Divine guidance at this “difficult” juncture between duty and destiny

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go after he filed his candidacy for president in the 2022 elections before the November 15 deadline at the Commission on Election in Manila on November 13, 2021. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)


(Eagle News) – “Running for the Presidency is something I have never dreamed of,” said Senator Christopher “Bong” Go who has been chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte to run for the presidency to continue his legacy.

But the reluctant presidential bet, running under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), an allied political party of the ruling PDP-Laban, is torn between his desire to not let President Duterte down, and his feeling that he can serve the people in whatever capacity – not necessarily the presidency.

He is in fact thinking of withdrawing from the presidential run altogether, saying that he is not really a politician. As of now, he is praying for Divine guidance before he makes his final decision.

The presidency is a matter of destiny, he says, echoing President Duterte’s thinking.

“Having said this, I leave my fate to God and the Filipino people as I vow to do my best every day to serve selflessly and tirelessly. I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country, and for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders,” he said in a statement he issued on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.

-Difficult decision-

Go, 47, who is Duterte’s former long-time aide, admits this is a very difficult phase in his life.

He said he did not want to run as president from the very beginning. He had even turned down the nomination of the PDP-Laban party (Cusi wing) on September 8, and before that on August 30, saying he has no interest in running for the presidency whatsoever.

The senator explains his predicament and what he feels 10 days after he filed his candidacy as PDDS standard bearer at President Duterte’s prodding.

Iniiwasan ko ang posisyon na ito, but fate — as I said — has a way of turning things around. Nagdesisyon ang partido at si Pangulong Duterte and I accepted the challenge,” Go said.

“At present, I continue to seek guidance from the Divine Being for I believe that the Presidency is a matter of destiny. Kung para sa ‘yo yan, para talaga sayo yan,” he said in a statement issued on Thursday, Nov. 25.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) sprays paint over the word ‘vice’ as senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go amended his candidacy to run for president in the 2022 elections before the November 15 deadline at the Commission on Election in Manila on November 13, 2021. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)

Go regards President Duterte as a father, and the 76-year old Philippine leader regards Go more like a son.

It is hard for Go to back down he says as the President fully trusts him to continue his legacy, and the senator says he loves Duterte too much that he could not let him down.

Ayoko na pong mahirapan si Pangulo at yung mga supporters natin. Mahal ko po si Pangulong Duterte. Matanda na rin po siya at ayaw ko siyang bigyan pa ng dagdag na problema,” he said.

President Duterte advised Go to run for the presidency on Nov. 15 after he withdrew his candidacy as vice-president. This was after the President’s daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, decided to run for the vice-presidency, and not for the top national post as what the President wanted. Inday Sara decided to tandem with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., a move that President Duterte intensely disliked.

-Feeling the pressure-

Go feels the burden and pressure. He describes himself as a “probinsyano” and not a politician. Neither is he from a political clan, he says. He is just a “simple public servant”, he says.

Philippine senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (R) and President Rodrigo Duterte (L) wave as they pass by after Go filed his candidacy for the vice president ahead of the country’s 2022 presidential election in Manila on October 2, 2021. (Photo by Maria Tan / AFP)

Ako naman po ay isang probinsyano lamang na binigyan ng pagkakataon ng Panginoon at ng mamamayang Pilipino na makapagserbisyo po sa inyo. Hindi po ako isang pulitiko. Hindi ako nanggaling sa malaki o kilalang pamilya. I am only a simple public servant from the province na walang ibang hangad
kundi ang magserbisyo po sa aking kapwa tao,” Go said in his statement.

-Go says he’s not really a politician: “Baka hindi ko pa po panahon”-

Pero sa ngayon, baka hindi ko pa po panahon. Ako yung taong handang magsakripisyo para wala nang maipit, masaktan at mamroblema.

Go had served Duterte as his personal aide and special assistant since 1998, when the President was still the mayor of Davao City.  When Duterte won the presidency, Go became the elder Duterte’s Special Assistant and head of the Presidential Management Staff.  Even when he had been elected as senator, Go still continues to accompany the President in critical events.

Courtesy Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go
President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go during an aerial inspection of areas hit by severe floods and affected by the previous storm “Auring.” President Duterte and his former aide, Senator Go, made the aerial inspection on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 after the storm which later weakened into a low pressure area, had already dissipated. (Photo courtesy Sen. Bong Go)

Like a dutiful son, Go was a constant companion of Duterte throughout his presidency.  In the process, Go said, he has been mentored by the outgoing president who sees him as his “successor”

But the senator and presidential bet admits he could serve Filipinos in many ways.

Marami namang paraan upang makatulong sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Ako naman, kahit saan man ako ipadpad ng aking tadhana, patuloy po akong magseserbisyo. Kung anuman ang aking magiging desisyon, ipapasa-Diyos ko na lang ang lahat alang-alang sa kung ano ang makakabuti sa bayan,” he said.

(Eagle News Service)