Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said he believes former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher ‘Bong’ Go will win ‘overwhelmingly’ in the senatorial race next year.
“I think he will win overwhelmingly,” Panelo said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
With no less than President Rodrigo Duterte accompanying him, Go filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Monday.
Panelo clarified that Go did not use the government resources when Duterte joined him in filing his COC.
“No, I don’t think. You know, Bong Go has so many supporters, also supporters of the President who helped him during the presidential campaign. They will be doing the same for Bong,” Panelo said.
Panelo, during a regular Palace press briefing on Tuesday, said Comelec did not give Go a special treatment.
“Hindi naman pinaburan. Siguro ang nangyari dun hindi nila akalain na darating ang Presidente (There was no special treatment. Perhaps, what happened was they (Comelec) were not aware that the President will come),” he explained.
Panelo added that Go did not violate Comelec’s rule which limits to only four the number of people who may accompany a senatorial candidate filing the COC.
“Ang pumunta lang doon ay si Presidente at tatlong Cabinet members. So pasok doon sa apat. Ang problema maraming sumama at dahil hindi nga nila anticipated yun, natural talagang mahihirapan sila (Only the President and three Cabinet members went there. So it’s only four. The problem was many have joined (inside) and since they did not anticipate, naturally they encountered problem),” he added.
Meanwhile, Panelo said Duterte has yet to choose Go’s replacement as his special aide.
According to media reports, Duterte picked Charmalou Aldevera, a lawyer from Davao City, to replace Go as new SAP.
“Baka isa sya sa mga pinagpipilian (Maybe she is just one of the choices),” he said when asked to confirm Aldevera’s appointment.
He said Duterte has also yet to choose Go’s replacement as head of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).
Panelo said Duterte will announce ‘anytime soon’ the replacements of other Cabinet members who will run in 2019 mid-term polls.
He assured that public services will not be affected since officers-in-charge can take over the vacated functions.
Aside from Go, other Cabinet members who will run include Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco.