The die is cast for Bong Go’s political future
Before Malacanang, Bong Go ate governance, day in and day out, 24/7, for more than 20 years as then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s top aide
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Kazakhstani world boxing champion Golovkin have one thing in common.
Both have GGGs.
Golovkin has Triple G or GGG, for Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, his full name, stuck to his boxing gloves.
Bong Go’s GGGs are about today, tomorrow and thereafter.
Bong’s three Gs: G(1) for GO the special assistant of President Rodrigo Duterte; G(2) for GONE as Duterte’s SAP; and G(3) for GOING to become a Senator in 2019.
Golovkin currently holds the unified WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight championship belts.
If Social Weather Station, Pulse Asia and other social survey firms are world boxing bodies, Bong Go is also a champion, though not in the level of Golovkin’s achievements.
Bong Go has made it to the magic circles of recent surveys of potential senatorial candidates in the Philippine 2019 mid-term elections.
The die is cast for Bong Go’s political future: GO, the Special Assistant to the President would soon be GONE as President Duterte’s trusted man and is GOING to throw his hat into politics and will be a Senator after the votes are counted in the 2019 polls.
Critics make fun of SAP Go’s penchant to shoot himself and dignitaries and VIPs as he tags along with President Duterte in foreign trips.
The “Selfie King” for Senator?
There is more to SAP Go than as a mere adjunct embedded in the Duterte cabinet. Before Malacanang, Bong Go ate governance, day in and day out, 24/7, for more than 20 years as then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s top aide.
As a Senator, Bong Go can be like fish in the water in dealing with national issues due to his vast experience and exposure, as a mayoral aide for two decades, to local governance, peace and order, criminality, the communist and Moro insurgency and other concerns that bedeviled Davao City and Mindanao.
Add to that his nearly two years as SAP Go to President Duterte and Bong Go already have ample armaments to help run the country as a Senator. Being an action man, Bong Go can never be an armchair legislator.
Although Bong Go says he still has to decide on running for public office despite the endorsement of his President that he take a crack at Senate in 2019, it should be noted that he is now expanding his exposure to serious national issues. If that is a cue, Senate could not be far away.
Bong Go has also stopped being a “selfie king” to convince his fans that there is more to him than shooting pictures and posing with dignitaries. He no longer needs to do that.
Mainstream media now shoot him not only as SAP Go but also as an important working figure in the Duterte administration, and write stories about his comments and pronouncements on key national issues.
If practice makes perfect, Bong Go is doing just what a future politician should do to fit the job. If we are allowed to go overboard in our assessment, we would say that Bong Go’s body language is now senatorial.
Of late, Bong Go was everywhere.
He reiterated President Duterte’s warning that government officials should not be tainted even by a “whiff” of corruption or face dismissal.
He warned that complaints filed against erring government personnel and officials via hotline 8888, a complaint desk under his office, will be acted upon immediately.
On Labor Day, he lauded the signing by President Duterte of an executive order that bans illegal contractualization.
On the same day, May 1, Bong Go vowed to explore and pursue various livelihood and job opportunities to help address the need of Filipinos looking for work.
In a radio interview, Bong Go said the Office of the Special Assistant to the President is always ready to aid and give a helping hand to Filipinos in need of financial support for their health problems.
On insurgency, Bong Go said he sees bright prospects on the development of the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People’s Army (NPA) but urged them to reciprocate President Duterte’s sincerity in the peace negotiations.
SAP Go also vowed to assist the repatriation of Filipino fishermen detained in Indonesia.
As the Kuwait crisis heightened, Bong Go vowed to explore various livelihood and job opportunities for displaced OFWs.
Middle of this month in Hong Kong, Bong Go was given a loud applause by a large crowd of Overseas Filipino Workers when President Duterte introduced him as a candidate for senator in 2019.
President Duterte cited the growing popularity of Bong Go, who he said is now being referred to as “Senator Go” even before the 2019 mid-term elections.
Without campaigning, he became Senator Bong Go, Duterte jested before the Hong Kong crowd of about 2,500 Pinoy migrant workers.
Duterte said Go’s appearance in a Senate probe on the P15 Billion Navy frigate project propped up his top assistant’s popularity.
The probe stemmed from a report by online news site Rappler that Go “intervened” in the award of the purchase of two Navy ships to a Korean company.
The Rappler story linking a top presidential adjutant to an anomaly, for days made Bong Go a poster boy of corruption in the Duterte administration that proclaims itself as rabidly anti-corruption. Until Bong Go appeared in the Senate to deny that he interfered in the deal.
Denying the Rappler story, Go told the Senators that he could not have meddled in the award because it was already awarded during the Aquino administration.
Duterte said Go came out a “hero” in the probe.
Duterte said he then told Go after his appearance at the Senate where his top aide proved his innocence, that the investigation opened a political opportunity that Go should grab.
Duterte said he told Go: ‘Bong, this is gonna be your ticket to being senator. I’ve been into politics for so long. Once you harass a person and that person is really very good in the eyes of the public perception, you’re just making him hero.”
Certainly, that piece of advice from his boss could have made impact.
Come to think of it. Bong Go should thank Rappler if he becomes senator, even if he described its online story linking him to the frigate deal as “fake news.”
It was Rappler’s “fake news” that triggered the Senate probe where, according to President Duterte, Go emerged as a “hero” and a potential candidate to the Senate.
Hello, Maria Ressa! Hello, Pia Ranada! Meet Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go!