The Manila Times : Bongbong eyes Bong as VP bet

News & Interviews
8 October 2021

By Javier Joe Ismael | The Manila Times

PRESIDENTIAL candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said that his running mate could be Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go or someone from the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP).

Go is the vice presidential bet of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Interviewed by CNN Philippines, Marcos said he would let the party decide who to pick.

Asked if he was comfortable with Go as his running mate, he replied "maari' (yes).

Marcos must decide today, October 8, the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for national positions.

Marcos, the son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, is chairman of the PFP, a center-right party accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2018.

In joining PFP, Marcos left the 114-year-old Nacionalista Party (NP), the oldest party in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Last Wednesday, he shared that he had planned to adopt President Duterte as his running mate, but Duterte pulled a surprise when he abandoned his vice presidential plans.

Go then filed his CoC as PDP-Laban's bet for vice president.

As an ally of the Dutertes, Marcos said he spoke earlier to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, president of PDP-Laban's pro-Duterte camp, and Go about his plan to adopt the President as his running mate.

"This is an unusual campaign. Every single day, there are many developments. We will make party adjustments," Marcos said.

Asked if he considered tapping the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Marcos said she is always an option but she has "decided to step away from national elections."

Duterte-Carpio has chosen to seek reelection as mayor.

In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Duterte-Carpio led all potential presidential bets, with Marcos coming in second.

'Working VP'

Go said he can work with anyone if elected as vice president.

"I can work with anyone. Mula noon hanggang ngayon, walang pili naman po ang pagseserbisyo ko sa tao. Rerespetuhin ko kung sino ang ihahalal ng taumbayan sa pagka-pangulo (I am not selective when it comes to public service. I will respect whoever will be elected president by the people)," Go said in a statement last Wednesday.

He pledged to be a "working vice president."

Go filed his CoC on October 2, accompanied by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He said his decision to run was motivated by his desire to carry on the Duterte administration's legacy.

"Bilang opisyal at kandidato naman ng PDP-Laban, kaisa ako ng aking mga kapartido sa aming hangaring maipagpatuloy ang mga magagandang programa at makabuluhang pagbabago na nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte (As an official and also a candidate of PDP-Laban, I am one with my partymates in our intention to continue the beautiful programs and meaningful reforms initiated by President Duterte)," he said

More provincial governors have committed their support for Go,

From an initial 41 governors, there are now 52 governors backing the vice presidential candidate.

In a manifestation of support, the governors said, "As a long-time close aide to then Davao City mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Bong Go has gained wide and valuable insights on and has had to confront problems relating to both local and national governance."

They said such an experience has prepared Go adequately for elective public office.

They noted that in just two years that he has been a senator, Go has institutionalized the Malasakit Center, a project he and President Duterte started before the former presidential aide joined the Senate.

Go is the principal author of Republic Act (RA) 11463, or the "Malasakit Centers Act of 2019."

"The senator from Mindanao has made affordable health care accessible to Filipinos through the Malasakit Center, which is a one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance several government agencies allocate for the sick, who now have to go to just one office instead of laboriously seeking help from one agency to another," said the governors.