Chaos at Comelec as Bong Go shows up with Duterte, entourage

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2021 03:01 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte Bong Go via George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
President Rodrigo Duterte raises the hand of Senator Bong Go after the latter’s filing of certificate of candidacy for the presidency at the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on November 13, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — What was expected to be a slow news day at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters on Saturday turned into a political spectacle after Sen. Bong Go showed up with President Rodrigo Duterte and an entourage of government officials and his supporters.

On Saturday afternoon, PDP-Laban standard bearers Ronald dela Rosa and Go went to the Comelec to withdraw their presidential and vice-presidential bids, respectively.

Go then went on to file his candidacy for president as a substitute of Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) party bet Grepor Belgica.

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However, the ministerial task led to a spectacle as Go brought along Duterte, several high-ranking officials like Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, action stars Victor Neri and Phillip Salvador, as well as other supporters who had no business in the filing venue. 

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News
Visual comparison of number of companion allowed by Comelec vs crowd brought by Bong Go. Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Under Comelec's protocol for candidacy filing, aspirants are only allowed to bring not more than 3 companions.

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News
A staff carries a Bong Go campaign material inside the Comelec filing venue. Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Go's group also brought campaign paraphernalia inside. 

According to Comelec staff, Duterte and the other officials' presence in the venue was not coordinated ahead of time, causing disruption in the media and poll personnel's compliance with health protocols.

In a message to reporters, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said he was "gathering information" on what transpired during Go and his entourage's arrival. 

"I will do what I can to bring clarity to this situation, as soon as possible," Jimenez said.

This was not the first time PDP-Laban was accused of skirting Comelec protocols.

During the COC filing at the Sofitel tent in Pasay City last October, Duterte used the venue for a photo op with the PDP-Laban's senatorial ticket, in violation of Comelec's protocol.