Duterte confident of Bong Go victory in 2019 polls
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After personally accompanying his former special assistant Christopher “Bong” Go to the Commission on Elections when the latter filed his certificate of candidacy for senator, President Duterte last night expressed confidence that his longtime aide would win in the 2019 elections.

Speaking before potential campaign contributors at the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel, Duterte also urged the attendees to choose wisely the candidates they will support in next year’s midterm polls.

“Choose your candidates wisely. Eh ’di ngayon, nakita mo si (And now, you see) Bong Go, senador na (already a senator). Totoo (For real). Mananalo siya. He will win. Hindi kilala iyan, pero tingnan mo ngayon (He used to be unknown, but look at him now),” Duterte said, effectively endorsing his resigned special assistant to the business community.

The Chief Executive said he then instructed Go to face his accuser at the Senate to clear his name.

“So, ipinatawag nila lahat, ipinatawag si (they summoned all, they summoned) Bong. Sabi ko, ‘Punta ka, Bong.’ (I said, ‘You go, Bong.’) Sabi ko (I said), ‘No, no, no. You demand a full proceeding in public,’” Duterte said.

“He will win. He will win,” he added, his words full of confidence.

“Nakita mo (You’ve seen) how fate – destiny of men are played. Hindi kilala ‘yan. Mas kilala ‘yung nagpatawag sa kanya. O, tingnan mo ngayon. (He is unknown. The one who asked to summon him is more popular. Look at it now.) You weigh the scales of their character,” Duterte said.

At the same event, the President also vowed to work double time in addressing the concerns of businessmen, which San Miguel Corp. president and chief executive officer Ramon Ang identified in his speech, like the issues on billions lost to traffic congestion, need to address inflation and rising fuel prices, among others.

Former presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, who is incumbent Manila mayor, joined Duterte on the stage. The President was accompanied by Ang and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Duterte also downplayed the claims of his political enemy, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who has prompted a Senate inquiry into Go’s alleged meddling in the acquisition of Navy frigates. 

“Anong nangyari? (What happened?) All witch-hunting. People are being shamed there,” he said, as he vouched for Go’s integrity.

Duterte then repeated his directive to all Cabinet men and officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to allow themselves to be subjected by lawmakers to humiliation during Senate or House probes.

He said he does not mind if the officials – often invited as resource persons in inquiries in aid of legislation – would be cited for contempt and detained rather than be embarrassed during inquiries.

Duterte also cited as example the case of the late AFP chief-of-staff Angelo Reyes, who was not given by Trillanes the chance to air his side properly during one of the Senate hearings sometime in 2011.

Trillanes confronted the former military officer, who also became energy secretary during Arroyo’s time, about some anomalies in the military.  Reports said Reyes committed suicide in a bid to save his honor and his family from being humiliated over unfounded accusations.

Palace sees  admin bets win

With Duterte’s high trust and approval ratings, Malacañang yesterday expressed confidence that Filipino voters will go for administration candidates during the midterm elections next year.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo is optimistic that the popularity of Duterte will also rub off on the senatorial bets of the administration.

“Given the popularity of the President, the chances of these senatorial candidates of the administration certainly are very good,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Panelo said the administration would respect the results of the elections next year even if some opposition candidates win.

“But we will not discount the fact that there may be some opposition candidates who will win. However, our feeling is that whoever is elected, the message of the electorate would be, ‘We trust this administration,’” he said.

“And therefore those who have been elected will have to cooperate with the administration in terms of services that will be beneficial to the electorate and the rest of the nation,” he added.

“In other words, what I’m saying is not because you are an opposition and you won, it means that they are – the electorates who voted for you – against the Duterte administration,” he said.

Panelo added that the candidates backed by the President have their own credentials.

“Definitely, they have their own credentials to speak of. I think they will meet the standards,” he said.

Asked about the new appointments for the Cabinet seats vacated by those who filed their certificates of candidacy, Panelo said, “I think the President will soon announce the replacement of Cabinet members who have filed their certificates of candidacy.”

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