Accompanied by no less than his boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go on Monday filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for senator.
“First, this is my first time to join an election. Kinakabahan po ako. Syempre mapapalayo po ako sa Pangulo. Sisikapin ko in may private capacity, tutulong pa rin ako sa kanya at nasa tabi nya. (I’m nervous. Of course, I will be away from the President. In my private capacity, I will still help him),” the teary-eyed Go said in an interview with Palace reporters.
Before going to Comelec, Go dropped by San Miguel Church at Malacañang complex to seek divine guidance before proceeding to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros.
From San Miguel Church, Go met with President to thank and formally say goodbye to his boss for over two decades.
“Formally, magpapalam po ako ngayon at magpapasalamat sa binigay nyang opportunity to serve him, to serve the Filipino people. Siya po ang inspiration ko na makapagsilbi sa mga Filipino. (Formally, I will say goodbye and thank him for giving me the opportunity to serve him, to serve the Filipino people. He is my inspiration to serve the Filipinos),” Go said.
Go added that like his mentor, he wants to “serve the people” and “put the nation and the people first.”
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat sa Diyos dahil natutunan ko kay Pangulong Duterte kung ano ang tunay na malasakit at serbisyong publiko. Dalawampu’t tatlong taon akong nanilbihan sa kanya at ang karunungan ko ngayon ay utang ko rin sa kanya. Dahil kay Mayor Rody, lalong naging malawak at malalim ang aking pang-unawa (I thank God because I learned genuine concern and public service from President Duterte. I served him for 23 years, and I owe him the wisdom and understanding I’ve learned through the years),” Go said in a separate statement.
After filing his COC, Duterte raised the hands of his top aide to the delight of their supporters.
If he wins, Go said he wanted to focus on measures that will help provide better medical services for the Filipino people.
“Papalawakin ko po ang medical services kasi nakikita ko sa iba’t ibang hospital na maraming mga pasyente ang nasa koridor (I want to improve medical services because I have seen in different hospitals, many patients are at the hallways),” he said.
In a press conference in Comelec, Go said he wanted to increase the current 15 Malasakit Centers, a one-stop shop medical service provider particularly for the poor patients.
“The process of giving assistance too should be shortened. Kaya nga po meron tayong Malasakit Center. Alam mo ang pasyente dapat tutulungan at hindi dapat ipagpapasa-pasa (That’s why we have Malasakit Center. You know, we should help the patients and are not given the runaround),” Go said.
Duterte’s top aide said he will also continue to “strengthen the fight against corruption, against crime and criminality, and against illegal drugs.”
Though he served as top aide for over 21 years and as assistant manager of Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections, Go admitted that running for senator would be a huge challenge for him.
“Mahirap maging kandidato lalo na po ako ay baguhan (It’s hard to be a candidate especially if you are a neophyte). I will be facing seasoned politicians. Hayaan na lang ang Filipino kung sino gusto nila ilagay at makakatulong (Let the Filipinos decide on who they will choose and who can help them),” Go said.
Go, meanwhile, said it would be premature to comment on different surveys being dominated by former and reelectionist senators.
“Hindi ko na po binibilang ang survey. Wait na lang final day of filing kung sino talaga ang tatakbo at hayaan ang Filipino kung sino talaga ang magsisilbi. (I no longer rely on surveys. Let’s wait for the final day of filing on who will run and let the Filipinos decide on who will serve (them),” he said.
The filing of COC for the May 2019 elections will end on Wednesday.
From Comelec, Go joined the President at the Philippine Army Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. (, Philippine News Agency)