The light shines on Bong Go
I met Bong Go, President Duterte’s most trusted man, a few years ago, when his principal was not yet president but mayor of Davao City. As far as executive assistants of local chief executives go, one could really tell that there was something extra remarkable about Bong Go, however unremarkable you’d think he is at first.
Apart from the enormous trust obviously placed in him by the then mayor of Davao — by any measure, a man of destiny — you could never quite figure Bong out. It was hard to say if Bong was in a happy or crappy mood, if he thought what you said was funny or offensive, if he liked or disliked you. In my three decades on this earth, I’ve never met a man more pokerfaced than Bong Go. And this adds to his mystique.
I find this to be a fascinating attribute because, most of the time, unless the situation really calls for it, I am very transparent and my mood is instantly betrayed by my facial expressions.
But like I told friends while analyzing the political configurations in the lead-up to the 2016 elections, Bong Go serves his principal best this way.
While one would think that the two are profusely different — and that is actually correct to an extent, in that President Duterte is expressive to a fault while Bong Go is consistently stoic and seemingly static — the fact that it’s nearly impossible to read Bong Go only serves to complement President Duterte’s style and strategy that are hard to predict and box.
In that sense, they are so alike. And so he has made himself an indispensable asset to our President whose unpredictable yet masterful ways would have Sun Tzu and Machiavelli revising their respective books if they were alive today.
And the dynamic duo the President and Bong have become has dealt a debilitating blow against the true enemies of democracy — the charlatans who pretend to defend it.
These enemies have been devoted to their mission, committed for nearly two years now, in trying to depose the President to no avail.
They’ve used every stratagem in the Liberal Party playbook but have barely made a dent on his popularity, with sky-high approval ratings even after an extensive assault against him here and overseas. Imagine, as his government turns two years old, eight out of ten Filipinos still love him.
So you see, the lies being peddled by opposition mouthpieces magnified by oligarch media have had no effect on the President.
So it comes as no surprise therefore that they, out of sheer desperation, have trained their sights on Bong Go. With the help of fake news, they’ve mounted a Senate hearing with one end in mind: Destroy Bong Go.
“If we can’t kill the superhero, perhaps the sidekick would be more vulnerable,” something like that. Boy oh boy did the plan backfire.
Some friends and I were talking about supporting SAP Bong Go in whatever way we can, and I’m so happy I decided to fly to Manila for the hearing.
I was honestly afraid for him at first, just because I wasn’t sure how someone who rarely speaks could withstand badgering from some senators who enjoy bullying resource persons in Senate hearings. Oh, how wrong I was, me of little faith.
Bong Go was so spectacularly awesome. He obliterated his enemies and effectively put mainstream media in their proper place.
Hearing him defend himself, defend the President, and defend the truth, gave me goose bumps. It’s the sort of thing that happens when someone we rarely hear speak (if at all) opens his mouth and just wows. He spoke with an eloquence that can only come from speaking from the heart.
Instead of being bullied into a corner, we heard senators, one after the other, sing his praises and come to his defense. In that circus of a hearing, the usually reticent and reserved Bong Go opened his mouth and roared like a lion.
Suffice it to say, when the light shone on Bong Go that day, we were left with a revelation.
That is, he is as much a warrior as his principal is, never mind his cool, calm, and quiet demeanor. And much like the reluctant candidate his principal was, Bong Go may soon find himself being chased by destiny, whether he likes it or not.
(And I’ve got a good feeling about this. XO)
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