Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is fast emerging as the man to beat in the 2022 presidential elections.
Eight months before the October deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy, President Duterte has publicly endorsed Go as his candidate, apparently reinforcing his previous announcement that he didn’t like his daughter to succeed him when he steps down in June 2022.
A senior Palace official yesterday confirmed to Daily Tribune the endorsement made when the President flew to Tandag, Surigao del Sur to oversee the relief program after the devastation brought by typhoon “Auring” last Monday.
“He (Go) is my president,” the Palace official quoted Duterte as saying before a crowd of local officials in Tandang, Surigao del Sur led by Gov. Johnny Pimentel.
What was not revealed in that event was the looming possibility that Go would have no less than President Duterte as his vice-presidential tandem.
The Go-Duterte 2022 pairing was confirmed by the same Tribune source.
This tandem was expected to be tackled when a group of Palace officials met in Malacañang last night to discuss the President’s statement.
The Palace source said the meeting was called to assess its repercussion and eventually a possible realignment of the President’s party and supporters.
It was not clear yet who attended the Palace meeting.
Go served as Duterte’s assistant when the Chief Executive was the Davao City mayor for more than two decades.
In the same Surigao del Sur event, the President reiterated that he didn’t want his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to become president.
He also spoke against the possible return of former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in politics come 2022.
According to the Palace source, the President made the endorsement when asked by a local official about who would continue his programs and projects across the country.
“The President only wants continuity,” the Palace official told Tribune.
Go was there at the meeting as part of the presidential delegation, but opted to keep mum about the President’s statement, the source said.
Pimentel said during the meeting that a Duterte ally should continue the administration’s legacy, adding that there should be “continuity” of government policies.
It was not the first time that Duterte had “endorsed” a pick for the presidency.
On various occasions in the past, the President had titillated the supporters of Senator Manny Pacquiao, and former lawmakers Bongbong Marcos and Chiz Escudero whom he all called qualified to become presidents.
Who would be in the President’s senatorial line-up? The Palace source said the public should take note of the President’s delegation each time he goes out of town.
“Whoever is with the President when he attends sorties outside of Malacañang (will be part of the senatorial ticket),” the official said.
Among the President’s regular companions in provincial sorties were Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo was also mentioned as a possible senatorial candidate in the President’s ticket.
The President advised Filipino voters to be wary of Trillanes IV should he run for government office in the May 2022 elections, saying he will “sell you to the devil.”
“Be careful of Trillanes. Be on guard. He will sell you to the devil. If he wins, we’re all dead,” he said. Duterte said anew that his daughter will not run for the presidency in 2022.
“I pity my daughter. Politics here is obscene,” he stated.
The Davao City mayor has said that she was not interested in seeking the top government post, even as she topped a survey by research firm OCTA for potential successors of her father.
She also topped various surveys conducted by other firms in recent months.