2022 Philippine Elections

Longtime Duterte aide Bong Go formally withdraws presidential bid

Dwight de Leon
Longtime Duterte aide Bong Go formally withdraws presidential bid

OUT. Senator Bong Go formally withdraws his candidacy for president on December 14, 2021.

Rappler

(1st UPDATE) 'I was just buying time so my supporters could absorb my decision,' says Senator Bong Go

President Rodrigo Duterte’s longtime aide Senator Bong Go officially dropped out of the 2022 presidential race on Tuesday, December 14.

Go personally filed his statement of withdrawal with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday, ending two weeks of waiting as to when he would formally throw in the towel.

“As a matter of principle, wala na po ako sa karera sa pagtakbo bilang pangulo ngayong 2022 (I’m no longer in the presidential race for 2022),” Go said in an ambush interview.

Nakapagsalita na po ako last November 30. Naghintay lang ako ng kaunting panahon para ipaintindi sa supporters ko (I already spoke about my decision on November 30. I was just buying time so my supporters could absorb my decision),” he added.

Go was referring to the announcement of his withdrawal from the race on November 30, saying he did not want Duterte to strain himself just to campaign for him in next year’s vote.

Go first filed his candidacy for vice president in October under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s faction of the ruling PDP-Laban, but withdrew from the race when Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, filed her candidacy for the country’s second top post in November.

He then filed his candidacy for president under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan via substitution, although he made hints in subsequent weeks that he was considering dropping out of the race due to developments ahead of 2022.

The President and Go have backed Duterte-Carpio’s vice presidential bid, but have not endorsed Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whose running mate is Sara.

The older Duterte has even taken a swipe against the late dictator’s son, calling him a “weak leader.”

In a statement, the Cusi faction of PDP-Laban said it will endorse “whoever will align with the policies of the Duterte administration.”

Meanwhile, Senator Manny Pacquiao said Tuesday that the public should respect Go’s decision, adding that he is now the only Mindanaoan running for the presidency.

Tayo na lang ang natatanging Mindanaoan at Bisaya na tumatakbo bilang presidente. Kanino pa ba susuporta ang mga taga Mindanao at mga Bisaya? Kundi ‘yung kagaya rin nila,” Pacquiao said when asked how Go’s move would affect him.

(I’m now the only Mindanaoan and Visayan running for the presidency. Who else would Mindanaoans and Visayans support? Of course, those who hails from the same place as them.) – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.