Just when he thought the intrigues thrown his way couldn’t get any worse or more outlandish, his name surfaced in online chat groups as the owner of several houses in Ayala Alabang — one of which was supposed to be under construction, overlooking a part of the Alabang Country Club golf course.
But shortly after, probably less than 10 minutes, came a message from “Meloy Casas, architect of the house in question, allegedly Bong Go’s house in Ayala Alabang.”
Said Casas: “Hi bro! Sorry, fake news! That’s one of our projects and it belongs to Michael Lam, our client who owns Buffet 101…”
Another house, on Apitong Street, has been under construction on and off for the past six years. Certainly it’s not Bong Go’s, said a resident.
By now, Christopher Lawrence Tesoro Go — Bong to his alter ego, President Rodrigo Duterte, and the rest of the country — must’ve learned when to respond to a rumor or just to take it in stride.
But though he’s always in the news, what does the public really know about the senator and the President’s loyal, trustworthy right hand?
Irregular sleep hours
“I just rent a small place in Manila. I have a very small working place there. According to two congressmen, their maid’s quarters are far bigger than my living and dining rooms combined,” Go told Tribune Lifestyle via email.
What time does he call it a day and how many hours does he sleep?
“I cannot sleep well, especially these days with the pandemic. Walang oras ang tulog ko (I don’t sleep regular hours),” he said, hardly any sleep at times. He can’t sleep if he fails to deliver on a promise, and not content until a job is done.
He looks so stiff and formal in pictures and in videos, does he ever get to chill or engage in a hobby?
“Before the pandemic, I used to play my favorite sport, basketball. I love thrilling games. I like taking charge down to the wire. When the game is on the line, when there is pressure, that’s when I step up,” he said. Just like in life and serving the people, he added.
If that sounds like typical politician spiel, it seems there’s no reason for him to exaggerate on the simple food he and the President like: “Makakain kami ng bulad (dried fish), law-oy (vegetable soup without meat or fish), embutido at spaghetti na gawa ng Nanay ko na puro ketchup ang sauce, happy na ako,” he said.
When the President spends the weekend in Davao, does he also go home to his family?
“My kids are grown up. I do my best to see them when I can,” he said. “But I know they understand that I have my obligations, too, since I became assistant to then Mayor Duterte more than two decades ago. I have a very simple and happy family, my wife and two children. They are very private persons and we intend to keep it that way.”
If there are things that he misses doing in Davao pre-pandemic, well, this whets the appetite: “Eating durian, marang and other fruits.”
Again, he mentions playing basketball with friends. Riding his motorcycle alone (sounds exciting) and enjoying Davao’s natural surroundings. “I also miss going to the beach.”
To him, the water washes his worries away.
“I go to the sea, the beach in Davao. That is where I am able to breathe fresh air and remove stress, compared to the polluted air in Metro Manila.”
He keeps saying he won’t run for higher office, okay, we’ll know soon. But has he come to terms with being a senator?
“Being a senator is not only about crafting laws. Equally important are representation and constituency services,” he said. His personal mantra: serving the public is serving God.
It’s on record that his pet project, the Malasakit Center, is now a law, and it currently has 141 branches all over the country.
He continues to support another advocacy, fire protection, and said everything he will do next as a member of the Senate is “the change I want to see in the country.”