Bong Go claims he’ll be independent from Malacañang but…

Pia Ranada
Bong Go claims he’ll be independent from Malacañang but…
Go says he'll put Filipinos' welfare before Malacañang interests but adds that he will support President Duterte because the Chief Executive 'knows what is good for the country'

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – On election day, senatorial bet Bong Go claimed he will show independence from Malacañang if he wins a Senate seat.

But in the same breath, he admitted he would support President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies because he believes the Chief Executive has the best interest of the nation at heart.

“Yes, uunahin ko ang Pilipino. Serbisyo, serbisyo, serbisyo (Yes, I will put the Filipino first. Service, service, service),” he said when asked if voters can expect him to be an independent senator.

He had just finished casting his vote at the Buhangin Central Elementary School in Davao City.

While he claimed independence from the Palace, his next sentence was: “Pero susuportahan ko po si Pangulong Duterte dahil alam ko ginagawa ni Pangulong Duterte ang tama at ano po ang dapat gawin sa ating bayan.

(But I will support President Duterte because I know President Duterte is doing the right thing and what is good for our country.)

Go did not respond when Rappler asked what stances he would take that would be different from Duterte’s.

He also did not elaborate on his promise to serve as a “bridge” linking the Senate and Duterte, saying he preferred to respond to this after the elections.

BIG BIKE. Bong Go arrives in his grey and black Yamaha Xbox motorcycle. Photo by Pia Ranada/Rappler

An independent Senate is deemed critical to a democracy because independence would allow the chamber to serve as a check on the power of the President and executive branch.

In the Philippines, the Senate has traditionally been more independent than the House of Representatives, seen as a “rubber stamp” of the executive.

Winners of the 2019 Senate elections will determine if the Senate will continue to be independent. But preelection surveys showed 8 out of the 12 likely winners of the race are allies of the President.

Duterte supporters are seeing this as an opportunity for Duterte to get much of his campaign promises done in the last half of his 6-year term.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, said the current Senate made it difficult for the President to pass some priority measures.

Nung nakaraang 3 years, nakita natin noon na medyo nahirapan si Presidente sa pagtulak ng mga gusto niyang mangyari sa ating bansa, especially ‘yung mga campaign promises niya, doon sa pagkuha ng suporta sa Senate. That’s why we really worked hard during this campaign para makuha ‘yung, mapresent sa tao kung sino ‘yung mga senators na nakakaintindi kung ano ‘yung vision ng ating President,” she said after she voted.

(In the last 3 years, we saw that the President had kind of a hard time pushing for what he wants to happen to our country, especially his campaign promises, in the Seante. That’s why we really worked hard during this campaign to present to people the senators who understand the President’s vision.)

Sara threw her support behind 13 candidates who promised to support Duterte in the Senate. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at