Go hedges on 2022 poll plan

SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday squelched speculations that he was running for president in next year’s elections.

There are reports that Go was being considered as the standard bearer of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). He brushed aside the reports, saying his focus now was to continue serving the people as a senator until his term ends in 2025.

SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

“Ang importante ngayon ay patuloy tayo na nagtutulungan para sa ikabubuti ng mga kababayan nating naghihirap dulot ng pandemya. Dahil kung hindi natin malampasan ang krisis na ito, baka wala na tayong pulitika pang pag-uusapan pa (What is important for now is that we continue to help each other for the good of our countrymen who are now in distress due to the pandemic. If we cannot overcome this crisis, there might be no more politics for us to talk about),” he said.

He said talks about who will run in the 2022 presidential elections were unavoidable.

“Ngunit uulitin ko, please count me out muna. Kung maaari ako na po ‘yung pinakahuli sa listahan ng kinokonsidera ninyo sa pinagpipilian. Kahit huli na po ako dahil hindi po ako interesado to the point of saying na please count me out po muna diyan sa usapang pulitika (Let me reiterate: please count me out for now. If possible, let me be the last in the list of being considered for selection. I can be last in the list because I am not interested),” Go said in a recent interview.

While he welcomed a recent Pulse Asia poll in which prospective voters showed preference for the tandem of Go as president and President Rodrigo Duterte as his running mate, he said it merely showed that Filipinos are satisfied with the current administration and want continuity.

The PDP-Laban recently released a resolution urging Duterte to consider a vice presidential run in 2022.

Go said if Duterte agreed to run as vice president, he might reconsider his stand.

And if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio decides to run for president, he said he would support her in the same way he supports her father.

On Friday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte had not indicated whether he was interested in running for vice president next year.

“Hindi ko pa po nakakausap ang Presidente tungkol sa bagay na ito. Ang plano ko po talaga sana ay magkaroon ng isang mahabang usapin tungkol sa pulitika (I have not talked to the President about this. I plan to have a lengthy discussion with him regarding politics),” Roque said during a press briefing in Ilocos Norte.

He said the President was at the moment concentrated on the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

At least 20 members of PDP-Laban have signed a resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president, citing the need to ensure the continuity of the government’s socioeconomic agenda.

“It is recognized by leaders and members that with President Duterte’s steadfast leadership and the strong public support for his agenda of change, the government will be able to expeditiously and effectively deliver our people, our community, our economy, back to good health,” the PDP-Laban members said in the March 8 resolution.

It will not be the first time a president will seek a lower office.

Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won a seat in the House of Representatives, while former president Joseph Estrada won as mayor of Manila.

On Thursday, Duterte himself said Go had his eyes on the presidency.“Ug kani si Bong ba (and Bong), padulong mi ngari ingon siya, ‘Hangyua ang mga tao, ingna sila na gusto ko mudagan pagka-Presidente (when we were on our way here, he said, ‘Please talk to the people, tell them that I want to run for president’),” Duterte said in a speech during a visit in Negros Oriental.

In a speech in Cagayan de Oro City last March 5, Duterte also teased Go about a possible presidential run, calling the senator “president.”

“He’s very hardworking. If there’s a fire somewhere, he’ll go there wherever it may be. Just look at his endless flights. afternoon when I fly back to Manila, he’d be there too,” he said.