Duterte aide Bong Go to run for senator

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2018 03:14 PM | Updated as of Oct 15 2018 10:50 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Special Assistant to the President Bong Go on Monday said he will run for a Senate seat, confirming months of speculation.

Go announced his decision to run as he visited a church near Malacañang to say a prayer before heading to the Commission on Elections to file his certificate of candidacy.

Having been with President Rodrigo Duterte for two decades, Go is considered the person to reach to get an audience with the chief executive. Wherever Duterte goes, he would almost always also be there.

A victory in the Senate race for Go would be bittersweet, as this would also mean leaving his boss, who has heavily relied on him for the good part of his political life.

“This is my first time na sasabak sa election. Kinakabahan po ako. Nalulungkot rin po ako sa panibagong magiging desisyon sa buhay ko po,” Go told reporters.

“Medyo mapapalayo ako sa pangulo pero sisikapin ko po in my private capacity na tutulong pa rin po ako sa kanya. Nasa tabi pa rin niya ako.”

Go had been coy about his Senate bid, saying all depended on Duterte’s decision.

But the President’s pronouncements, as well as the special assistant’s banners that have sprouted across the country and his numerous appearances in public events, all but confirmed his Senate aspiration.

While Go enjoys the trust and confidence of the President, much needs to be done for him to win the elections.

In the latest Pulse Asia senatorial survey, he only ranked 22-27.

But Go was unfazed by the results of recent surveys, saying some of the names on the survey list won't even be running.

Go said among his first priorities if he wins would be to push for better access to medical services for the country’s poorest.

Go has been leading the launch of so-called Malasakit Centers around the country, a “one-stop shop program” of the President meant to hasten the delivery of medical services and give poor patients access to free medicine.