Bong Go, Yellowslayer

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The latest Social Weather Stations senatorial survey results are in and the meteoric rise of former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go from the 15 to 16th place to 5th to 6th place is hands down the biggest news. This is a testament to the success of the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte and the trust of the Filipino people in him, all that he does and, for purposes of the elections, the candidates he endorses.

“Despite his negative and controversial statements, President Duterte still enjoys high trust and approval ratings, making his endorsement a Midas touch of gold.

Like in Game of Thrones folklore, President Duterte — the King — has vested powers in his chosen knight to crush their enemies in the Senate. In the Lannister family, the feared Jamie Lannister, the “Kingslayer,” is a feared swordsman known in the realm to be the knight that killed a mad king — an incident that changed the course of the kingdom. But unlike in Game of Thrones, there is not an ounce of violence in the persona of “Bong” Go, as he intends to win the hearts of the people, not through fear, but with his loyalty and kindness. It has been said that the key to his rise in popularity is the effective roll-out of his Malasakit Centers throughout the country.

The yellows have been trembling in fear since the publication of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) senatorial survey results and are surely dreading the upcoming Pulse Asia Survey. A win by “Bong” Go this 2019 shall solidify Duterte’s hold on Philippine politics and put his group in a strategic advantage in the 2022 presidential elections. Not that “Bong” Go can now become president, a post he will surely turn down, but more so a presidential candidate from the Duterte camp would likely become the next president.

The Philippine Senate is a breeding ground of future kings and queens of the Republic. This is mainly due to the unique structure of Philippine government as provided in our 1987 Constitution that senators must be elected nationally, similar to the president and the vice president. Given that the same Constitution does not afford any real duties and responsibilities to the vice president, except to be the spare tire of the president, our senators carry a huge burden of work (and blame) for the country, being the nationally-elected politicians tasked to pass bills that are most important to the Filipino people as a whole, unlike their co-members in the Legislative branch — the congressmen, who primarily look after their constituents or sectors as top priority. As such, we must always keep close watch on the composition of the Senate since each senator shoe-ins to become the next president of the Philippines.

Thus, the usual route for one to be president is to climb the political ladder, from being locally elected, then join Congress as a House member. If lucky, the House member becomes popular enough to be elected as senator. The more popular ones would then be considered as president or vice president. This is the path our traditional politicians got used to in the past decades.

But President Duterte is not traditional at all — he falls under the category of “disruptive politicians,” since he leaped from mayor, with some experience in Congress, to the highest position in the land. Despite his negative and controversial statements, President Duterte still enjoys high trust and approval ratings, making his endorsement a Midas touch of gold. And of all his senatorial endorsements, he has spoken of “Bong” Go of the highest esteem and a vote for his trusted aide is a vote for the Duterte brand — disruptive, no-nonsense, proactive, but with malasakit.

A closer look at the latest SWS survey results and the present composition of the Senate shows the downward trend in the prominence of the yellows. Reelectionist Bam Aquino may be in the Magic 12, though we have still to consider the expected surge of other candidates from the Duterte camp, e.g. Gen. Bato de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino. Mar Roxas is also in the 12, but give him the microphone and he’ll say something stupid again, similar to his dumb statement in a recent televised interview where he questioned why the age of criminal responsibility must be lowered to 12 when the permitted age to drink is 18. Downright stupidity will kill his campaign (again).

Other major opposition members in the Senate will have maxed their terms by 2022, such as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (2019) and Sen. Franklin Drilon (2022). Should Aquino and Roxas struggle in the upcoming elections, then the LP reelectionists in 2022 should be expected to fizzle out, e.g., Senators Leila de Lima, Joel Villanueva and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan. But for this to become a reality, the anointed Yellowslayer must win a seat in the Senate — something that is not far from happening.

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