DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Rodrigo Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed that President Benigno Aquino III called him on Tuesday, May 10, to begin talks on the transition process between his administration and Duterte’s.
Go told reporters that Aquino began his call by expressing his best wishes for Duterte and his team.
“Pinaparating lang niya yung pagbati para kay Mayor Duterte at nangangamusta lang siya,” said Go. (He just extended his greetings to Mayor Duterte and he asked how he is doing.)
Aquino then told Go of his intention to issue an Administrative Order* to facilitate the transition. It’s similar to a move by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Aquino confirmed this Wednesday, saying: “I talked to Mr Bong Go yesterday [Tuesday] to relay to Mayor Duterte that an Administrative Order (AO) is being drafted designating the Executive Secretary as head of the transition team. I further offered that the Cabinet stands ready to brief his team on any and all of their concerns. Lastly, we are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible.”
In 2010, Arroyo issued an order creating the Presidential Transition Cooperation Team. Led by her then executive secretary Leandro Mendoza, the team’s job was to ensure a smooth transition between her administration and Aquino’s on June 30, the day of his oath-taking.
Duterte’s camp is also moving on their end. Select members of his campaign team are set to meet on Wednesday, May 11, to form a transition committee.
Go revealed that he will be attending the meeting together with campaign manager Jun Evasco and lawyer Salvador “Bingbong” Medialdea.
Duterte is not expected to attend the meeting. Go said the presumptive president has decided to take the next few days off and will “probably” make his next appearance to the media on Monday, May 16.
“Hinihiling niya na kung puwede this week makapagpahinga siya (He’s asking if he can rest this week), he’s not feeling well,” said Go.
But he stressed that Duterte is suffering, not from any illness, but from extreme fatigue given the events of the last few days.
Duterte assistant Bong Go, Senator Alan Cayetano unwind with a game of basketball in Davao City pic.twitter.com/0T0oPo8Kjp— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) May 10, 2016
While he recuperates, Go and Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano, faced off in a basketball game in Davao City. Both are known basketball enthusiasts.
In fact, the two also played the game together some 7 months ago when Cayetano came over to ask Duterte if he could be his running mate. – Rappler.com
*Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, we used EO or Executive Order. This is what Mr Bong Go initially said. The Palace on Wednesday corrected this to say the President intended to issue an ‘Administrative Order’ and not an ‘Executive Order’.