President Rodrigo Duterte pushed back into the night a scheduled afternoon appointment last week in order to spearhead Cabinet officials in accompanying erstwhile Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go when he filed his certificate of candidacy (CoC) for senator in next year’s elections.
“While many people would consider having Go’s myriad jobs as too much to put on one man’s plate, the 42-year-old had done a lot more on the side.
For the dedicated amateur astronomer in Go, that should tell him that while he was the moon constantly revolving around Duterte as Earth, the President saw in him a dedication to public service that should put him right smack in the center of the celestial firmament of Philippine politics as a conduit of his administration’s policies and thrusts in the Senate.
Duterte’s appearance at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was an overwhelming seal of approval for Go who — as a De la Salle management graduate and grandson of a close friend of the President -— had served Duterte longest, dating back to his early days as mayor of Davao City.
The President’s endorsement of Go tells in no uncertain terms the millions of Filipinos who voted Duterte into office that Go has always been his go-to guy and that, like him (Duterte), the public will be better served by Go if he will get elected to the Senate.
Duterte himself had admitted that Go had been his constant source of information who helped him answer questions from media, aside from being the provider of daily news briefs. It was Go’s job to hover around and have Duterte’s ear, thereby earning him the tag “Presidential photo-bomber.”
However, unknown to many people, Go’s designation as SAP which carries a rank of secretary was in conjunction with his heading the Office of the President Events Management Cluster and his having supervision over the Presidential Management Staff, along with the Office of the Appointments Secretary.
While many people would consider having Go’s myriad jobs as too much to put on one man’s plate, the 42-year-old had done a lot more on the side like establishing Malasakit Centers all over the country, starting in the Visayas and Mindanao and then in Luzon at the Philippine General Hospital.
The Malasakit Centers, which Go put up, assure the poorest Filipinos access to medical care and medicines by banding together in the Malasakit Centers the primary government agencies that help indigents, like the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Department of Health, among many others.
In an elected position, Go can certainly do more for poor Filipinos by shepherding support for Palace-initiated proposed laws and by pushing his own legislative agenda. After all, no one but Go had thought of and made a reality the creation of the Malasakit Centers as one-stop shops in delivering health care to the public.
That Go was able to juggle his multifarious tasks as SAP and heads of the other aforementioned officer, while serving as the President’s walking “rolodex” or appointments keeper was a testament to his discipline and, okay, call it single-minded determination to succeed in whatever he put his mind into doing.
Clearly, Go’s being a member of the American Astronomical Society, who had discovered that the white spot in one of the rings of Jupiter had turned red, imbued in him the virtue of patience and dedication in all his undertakings. For those twin virtues, the Philippine Cancer Society named him, along with the US Ambassador to the Philippines, one of the “men of influence.”
“Go may be the epitome of “icy composure” —expressionless even save for a fleeting smile here and there — but he had proven himself to have a “fiery” albeit still well-controlled side.
Go may be the epitome of “icy composure” — expressionless even save for a fleeting smile here and there — but he had proven himself to have a “fiery” albeit still well-controlled side when he appeared in the Senate months back to confront head-on the issue being raised then by Sen. Antonio Trillanes.
That Senate appearance by Go may be a portent of things to come as, with Duterte no less backing his candidacy, he may well be en route to snaring one of 12 seats at stake in the Senate come election time next year.
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