President Duterte couldn’t help but put his longtime aide and friend, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on the spot Thursday night, Dec. 2, after the latter withdrew his presidential bid for next year.
Duterte was delivering a speech during the joint meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Region IX at the Garden Orchid Hotel Convention Center in Zamboanga City when he mentioned Go’s name.
“Senator Bong Go, ano ba talaga, Bong? Tatakbo ka o hindi? (what’s it going to be, Bong? Are you running or not?),” Duterte said. Go accompanied him to the event and was on the stage with him.
The crowd cheered at the President’s ad lib.
“Well, I would like to off-the-cuff statement. You have made a lot of people sad than happy,” he said, obviously referring to the rrookie senator’s decision to back out from the May 2022 Palace race.
But Duterte sounded resigned to the fact that Go would no longer try to be his successor.
“We respect your decision lalo na kung pamilya (Especially if it’s about family). Wala na tayong magawa diyan (We can’t do anything about it),” the President said.
Go announced his withdrawal last Nov. 30, saying his “heart and my mind were contradicting his action”. It occurred just two weeks after he substituted for PDP-Laban stalwart and presidential aspirant Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Duterte chairs PDP-Laban, which stands for Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
Cabinet Secretary and PDP-Laban Executive Vice President Karlo Nograles has said that the ruling party would hold meetings to discuss their next move.