President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday hinted that Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go will be the administration’s standard-bearer for the 2022 elections.
Go, a former presidential aide was asked by Duterte to stand up and wave to the crowd to see if he is president material during the Joint Meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Cagayan de Oro.
“Stand up, Senator Bong. Stand up. President? Let us see if the position suits him. Raise your hand and wave to the crowd,” Duterte said in the vernacular. Go, a constant companion of the President, obliged.
The senator, however, earlier assured the public he was not gunning for a higher position in next year’s polls as he would rather focus first on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Please count me out po. Don’t include me when it comes to talks about the elections,” Go said in a television interview in February.
Last week, chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Go is qualified to succeed Duterte if Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would not run for president next year.
Duterte himself rejected calls for his daughter to seek the presidency, saying it is not a woman’s job.
Duterte-Carpio said she will only consider gunning for the highest position in 2034 and only “if at that time, there is something I can do to help the country.”
“If Mayor Sara does not run, then we can have Senator Bong Go,” Panelo said as he floated the possibility of a Bong Go-Rodrigo Duterte tandem in 2022.
“See, Go-Duterte. Does it not have a nice ring to it?” Panelo said.
Duterte’s own political party, PDP-Laban, in December elected Senator Manny Pacquiao as its president.
The Liberal Party, on the other hand, said it is considering Vice President Leni Robredo as its standard bearer for the 2022 polls.
In a survey conducted by OCTA Research from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, Duterte-Carpio topped the list with 22 percent of the respondents choosing her to be the next president.
The Davao City mayor was followed by Sen. Grace Poe (13 percent), Pacquio and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos (12 percent each), Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (11 percent) and Robredo (5 percent).
In the December survey of Pulse Asia, Duterte-Carpio also emerged as the prospective frontrunner in next year’s presidential polls with 26 percent. Tied statistically for second place were Marcos (14 percent), Poe (14 percent) Moreno (12 percent) and Pacquiao (10 percent). Robredo, on the other hand, got eight percent while Go got four percent.