The Philippine Star : Bong's supporters go for UniTeam bets

28 February 2022

By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Groups saying they are supporters of Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go have formed a coalition to back the election bids of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

News5 reported that Go’s supporters formed the “Let’s Go UniTeam coalition” and declared support for the Marcos-Duterte tandem.

The administration PDP-Laban party and allied minority party Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, which previously backed Go's short-lived run for president have yet to formally declare support for Marcos but have long indicated support for Mayor Duterte, the president's daughter.

"His faithful supporters have finally accepted and moved on from his decision to desist from participation in the presidential race," the resolution dated February 14 but released only on Monday read.

This was after Go, who had the backing of President Rodrigo Duterte in his bid, bowed out of the presidential race saying he is unprepared. Go will remain a senator until 2025.

The coalition said they are declaring their support to the UniTeam tandem “base [sic] on their track records.”

"In accordance with the endorsement of Mayor Sara ‘Inday’ Z. Duterte-Carpio, BBM is the only best skilled, capable and efficient leader amongst all other candidates to lead the country as shown in his vast experienced [sic] a local chief executive and as a legislator," the resolution further read.

PDP-Laban support?
But does this mean the Duterte’s ruling party of PDP-Laban, who fielded Go as presidential bet, will now support Marcos?

Benhur Abalos Jr., Marcos’ campaign manager, said: “Unang una, kami ay nagapasalamat na etong mga malaking bahagi ng MOA, nasabi ko kanina there are about 300 organizations, sila ang isa sa mga grupong nagpapanalo kay Pangulong Duterte.”

(First of all, we are thankful for this MOA. This is a big thing because, as I said earlier, there are about 300 organizations, they are among the groups that brought victory to President Duterte)

He added that the support of groups who backed Go’s senatorial run in 2019 is also a huge help to them.

But Abalos admitted he is unsure whether Go sanctioned the new coalition's decision to throw the support behind the UniTeam. "I don’t know. What is important is their leaders are here," he added.

Duterte has yet to name the presidential candidate he will endorse, although Marcos’ campaign has made it known they are actively courting for the incumbent’s support.

In an interview with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar that aired on February 25, Duterte said he would prefer to stay neutral in the coming elections, and he will bide his time.

“This means I will not support a candidate unless again having said it, I’ll say it again, there’ll be a compelling reason for me to go out and tell the people what it is,” the president said partly in Filipino.

Aglipay-Villar resigns from DOJ post
As the campaign season heats up, Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, whose husband is running for a Senate seat, has resigned from her post.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Aglipay-Villar will continue her work at the department until March 21. She will then join the campaign of her husband, former Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, who is part of the UniTeam’s Senate slate.

Chief State Counsel George Ortha II will be the Officer-in-Charge Usec when her resignation takes effect, the DOJ chief added. — with reports from News5/Dale De Vera