Sara Duterte

Without a running mate, Bong Go says Sara ‘closest to our heart’

Bea Cupin
Without a running mate, Bong Go says Sara ‘closest to our heart’

PRES DUTERTE'S BET. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte erases the word "bise" on the printed canvas after Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go withdrew his candidacy for vice president and filed his certificate of candidacy for president at the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila on November 13, 2021.

Malacañang photo

The ruling party's presidential bet is without a running mate, but Senator Bong Go vows he will be loyal to the daughter of his boss

She has campaigned for another presidential candidate and has, repeatedly, insisted that she will not work with with the ruling political party. But if you ask Senator Bong Go, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is his only choice. 

Sa ngayon, wala akong [vice president]. Sino ba naman pipiliin kong VP? Syempre, anak ng aking boss,” said Go on Monday, November 22, in a chance interview in General Santos City. 

(For now, I have no vice president. Who else would I pick as VP? Of course, my boss’ child.) 

The “boss” he was referring to is President Rodrigo Duterte, the Davao mayor’s father. Go, a long-time Duterte aide, continues to accompany the President even after being elected senator in 2019. 

Go is running for president under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), a relatively new party founded by a Duterte ally. Go had been a vice presidential candidate of the ruling PDP-Laban but withdrew and filed for a presidential run the same day Sara announced her vice presidential candidacy. 

Sara is running for vice president under Lakas-CMD and is the running mate of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Bongbong Marcos Jr.

The Davao mayor earlier said that Lakas tried to ask for PDP-Laban’s support for a Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem, but this was rejected. 

The older Duterte himself has since lambasted Marcos, the son and namesake of the late deposed dictator, as a “weak leader.” He has also expressed frustration over Sara’s choosing to run for vice president despite leading early presidential preference surveys. 

“[Sara is] closest to our heart. Kung ako papipiliin pero syempre may partido tayo na dapat sundin,” said Go, alluding to PDP-Laban’s decision. 

(That’s if I were to pick but of course we must follow the party’s decision.) 

In the Philippines, it’s not unusual to see the children of incumbent leaders vie for elected posts even as their elders are still in positions of power. It’s also not unusual to see a father and child on seemingly different camps, although that’s been previously unheard of from the Duterte clan. 

Politics in the Philippines is dominated mostly by clans and not parties. Duterte is also running under PDDS despite being PDP-Laban’s chairman. Alfonso Cusi, who leads one faction of the party, said it’s because of ongoing disputes over the party’s leadership. 

Marcos and Sara Duterte recently made their first public appearance together in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on November 21.

The region is considered a bailiwick of the Dutertes. – 

Bea Cupin

Bea is a journalist.