MANILA - (UPDATED) Government officials, including lawmakers and Cabinet secretaries, gathered Wednesday to urge Special Assistant to the President Bong Go to run for senator in the 2019 midterm polls.
The event "#ReadySetGO" was attended by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, among others.
President Rodrigo Duterte's supporters also took part in the event.
Go was non-committal when asked by his supporters through a phone-patch conversation during the event, saying he is not a politician.
"Hindi naman ako politiko, at kung sakali unang beses ko po itong sasabak, pero ang puwede ko lang ipagmakaki ay ang dalawampung taon kong karanasan kay Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte," Go said.
But Cayetano hinted that Go may be leaning towards pursuing a senatorial bid, quoting a part of their conversation before.
"Nung tinanong ko ang ating kaibigan na si Sec. Bong Go, 'ano tatakbo ka ba?' Sabi niya, 'kapag sinabi ni boss (Duterte), hindi ako puwedeng umayaw," Cayetano shared.
Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, meanwhile, sees Go as someone who could make Duterte's dream of a federal government come true if he wins a Senate seat.
"Pangungunahan niya sa Senado ang pag-alalay sa ultimong hangarin ng Pangulong Duterte na maipasa ang pederalismo" Velasco said.
Although he has yet to decide whether to run for office or not, Go said he is humbled by the support given to him by the President.
"All these started as a joke, but with the overwhelming support and encouragement of no less than Mayor Rody (President Duterte) and his supporters, I cannot just set this aside," he said in a separate statement.
"For the Mayor to say that he will support me to the hilt if I decide to run is more than I could ask for. For him to say that he also wants me to seek a higher post, to prove something to myself and that I could also grow only shows how unselfish Mayor Rody is. I am deeply humbled by his inspiring words," Go added.
But Go said it does not matter if he runs or not as he will be by Duterte's side for life.
"Ang 'SAP' puwede namang Senator of the Philippines, or puwedeng Senator and Assistant of the President. Kung hindi ko kapalaran ang Senado, 'Super Assistant of the People'," he told #ReadySetGo participants by phone.
"But like I said, it is still too early to talk about politics. Trabaho po muna ako para sa pangulo at para sa bayan. At tulad po ng sinabi ko sa senado, at maging sa umpisa pa man, magsisilbi po ako kay Mayor Rody hanggang kamatayan," Go also said.
Go was recently accused of intervening in the P16-billion Philippine Navy warship frigate deal. He attended a Senate hearing and publicly denied any involvement in the project.