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MANILA, Philippines – Senator Bong Go, President Rodrigo Duterte’s choice in the 2022 presidential elections, announced his withdrawal from the race.
Go made the announcement in a chance interview on Tuesday, November 30, on the sidelines of Bonifacio Day celebrations in San Juan City.
Citing his family’s resistance to a presidential run and how his “heart and mind were contradicting his actions,” Go said he would be withdrawing his 2022 bid.
Reading a prepared statement during the chance interview, Go said: “Sa ngayon, handa po ako mag sakripisyo para sa kapakanan ng bayan at ni Presidente Duterte (For now, I’m ready to sacrifice for the country and President Duterte).”
“Marahil po, hindi ko pa po panahon para maging presidente (Perhaps it’s not time for me to be president),” said Go in the chance interview, echoing his earlier pronouncements.
The senator said he did not want the 76-year-old Duterte to strain himself just to campaign for him in 2022.
The senator, Duterte’s long-time aide, had made earlier hints that he was mulling withdrawing his candidacy, saying he was in a “state of shock” over the developments ahead of 2022. He had first filed to run as vice president under the ruling PDP-Laban Cusi faction but withdrew that candidacy after Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, announced she was running for vice president under Lakas-CMD.
He eventually filed as president under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan via substitution.
Allies of the President had earlier said the senator’s withdrawal was imminent following a dinner in Malacañang. Duterte had announced during that November 24 dinner that he would not be supporting any presidential candidate in 2022 and would remain neutral.
On November 30, Go said that he and the President were prepared to support anyway who will “serve, continue, and protect the Duterte legacy.” Go did not say whom he would support in 2022 but said he would follow Duterte’s lead.
Both the President and Go have endorsed Sara Duterte’s candidacy but, thus far, have not endorsed her running-mate, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer Bongbong Marcos Jr. The older Duterte has even gone so far as to calling Marcos, the son of the late dictator, a “weak leader” and broadly hinted that he was a drug user.
As of posting, PDP-Laban, which Duterte chairs, has yet to release a statement on Go’s withdrawal.
Go has been a laggard in pre-election surveys in voters’ preference for both president and vice president. Even after he withdraws from the presidential race, Go remains a national official as his term as senator ends in 2025. – Rappler.com