SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go strongly advised against any further division in the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), as he renewed his call to party members to unite behind President Rodrigo Duterte in a phone interview given before his appearance at the PDP-Laban national assembly at the Royce Hotel in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.
“Inaasahan ko na darating ang panahon na magkakasundo ang partido at patuloy (ang PDP-Laban) na maging ruling party. In fact, sa Senado (at Lower House) kami ang majority party. Sayang naman kung magkahati-hati kami … Ang daming governors, mayors at councilors. Mahigit 100,000 na ang mga miyembro,” began Go.
“Umpisa po, iilan lang ang miyembro. Nang nanalo si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, marami ang sumama. Naniniwala ako na kaya sila nandiyan ay dahil naniniwala sila sa liderato ng Pangulo. Sana maayos ang gusot … Nananawagan rin ako kay Senator Koko Pimentel at Senator Manny Pacquiao na sana maayos itong gusot,” he appealed.
During the national assembly, President Duterte similarly stressed the need for a “united front” among members in order to achieve the party’s overarching goal of “improving the welfare of the Filipino people”. He urged them to rally behind the administration in a common effort to combat corruption, poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your presence here sends a clear and resounding message to everyone that our party is as strong as ever and that we are united in further consolidating our ranks until the end of my term and beyond,” said the President.
“Despite all the challenges we are facing, your unwavering support for this administration’s priorities, especially our campaigns against illegal drugs, terrorism, corruption and poverty, is truly reassuring. I am grateful for PDP-Laban’s continuous trust and confidence in my leadership. I also deeply appreciate your commitment to support whatever my decision may be for the 2022 national elections,” Duterte continued.
An election of new officers was also held at the same event, during which Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was elected the new party president, replacing Senator Pacquiao.
Go, who has served as national auditor of PDP-Laban since 2016, has been elected again to the same position.
In his interview, Go continued to express hope for an amicable resolution of issues among party members. He maintained that he remains a friend to both groups and offered his willingness to serve as a mediator to resolve any misunderstanding.
“Bilang malapit sa Pangulo at sa ilang miyembro ng partido, more than willing po ako na magpagitna. Iyan naman ang trabaho ko noon pa. Nung ‘di nagkaintindihan si Secretary Francisco Duque at Mayor Jerry Treñas, ako ang nakiusap sa kanila na pwede ba i-extend ang kanilang pasensya,” explained Go.
Go added that he would prefer to see the party resolve its problems peacefully without resorting to further political bickering. He said that the unity of the country’s leaders, especially those belonging in the ruling party, is necessary to overcome the national health crisis.
”Ayaw ko munang tawaging faction sa ngayon. Gusto ko munang tawaging iisang PDP-Laban. Sana hindi na umabot sa puntong kailangan nang i-pasa pa sa Commission on Elections o sa judiciary. Huwag naman. Masyado na tayong madidistorbo sa pulitika. Focus muna tayo sa laban kontra pandemya, kawawa ang Pilipino diyan,” he said.
When asked if he is considering a possible bid for higher office in the 2022 elections, Go once more denied having any interest, saying that he remains focused on serving the Filipino people by supporting the pandemic response and moving important health related legislation forward in the Senate as Health Committee Chair.
“Maraming salamat sa tiwala ni Pangulong Duterte at ng taumbayan … marami naman ang gustong maging Pangulo. Maraming atat na atat na maging Pangulo. Huwag niyo na lang akong isali doon,” said Go.
”Ang posisyon na ‘yan, destiny ‘yan. Kung talagang iluluklok ka diyan, kahit saan ka magtago, ‘pag gusto ng Panginoon at ng Pilipino, talagang mangyayari ‘yan. Iyan ang nangyari sa ating Pangulo, siya ang hinahanap ng mga Pilipino nun … marami pa ang dapat gawin. Marami pa pong unfinished business,” he continued.
The Senator had further clarified in an interview given after the launch of the country’s 129th Malasakit Center at the Tondo Medical Center in Manila City last July 16, that he would rather be considered last as a viable candidate for higher office since his focus has always been on fulfilling his mandate to serve Filipinos in need instead of discussing politics at this time.
“Paulit-ulit na ako dito. Para na akong sirang plaka kasi sinabi ko naman na consider me last … ibig sabihin kung wala na kayong pagpipilian. Marami naman pong interesado, eh ‘di unahin niyo na lang muna sila. Ako naman po’y hindi interesado, kaya ‘wag na lang muna ako,” he said
“Kung naubos na ‘yung mga interesado saka niyo na lang ako kalabitin sa huling araw. Oh, halika rito, wala ng interesado ikaw na lang ang natitira. Ikaw na ang mag-file. Kung pagdating ng October 8 hindi ako nag-file, ‘di ibig sabihin talagang hindi ako tatakbo. So, ganoon lang ang usapan doon,” he added.
“Ang importante po sa akin ay ang makapagserbisyo. Unahin po natin ang kapakanan at buhay ng bawat Pilipino. Kaya nga sabi ko, pagtuunan muna natin ng pansin ang pandemya… bakuna muna bago pulitika,” he reiterated.