President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (File photo)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he respects the decision of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go to withdraw from the presidential race in the upcoming May 2022 elections.
In a speech during a meeting with officials of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Zamboanga City, Duterte asked Go if he was sure about backing out.
“Ano ba talaga, Bong? Tatakbo ka o hindi (What is it, Bong? Are you running or not)?” he addressed Go, who was among the guests during the event.
Although he respected Go’s decision, Duterte admitted that it made a lot of the senator’s supporters unhappy.
“You have made a lot of people sad than happy. We respect your decision lalo na kung pamilya. Wala na tayong magawa diyan (especially if your family disapproves. We can’t do anything about that),” he added.
On November 30, Go announced that he is withdrawing from the presidential race, noting that his family's disapproval was one of the factors he decided to back out.
“Nagre-resist po ang aking pamilya, nag reresist po ang aking puso, nagre-resist po ang aking katawan at isipan sa pangangampanya bilang pangulo (My family is resisting, my heart is resisting, and my body and mind is resisting in campaigning for president),” Go told reporters in an interview.
Go initially filed his candidacy for vice president under the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) and later on withdrew and then ran for president under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), an allied party of the ruling PDP-Laban.
He said his decision to back out was to avoid having Duterte “caught in the middle.”
Go's withdrawal of his presidential bid left the PDP-Laban without a standard bearer for next year's elections.
“Ayoko rin pong lalong maipit si Pangulong Duterte higit pa po sa tatay ang pagmamahal ko sa kanya. Matanda na po siya at marami na rin siyang naibigay para sa bayan, ayaw ko na pong dagdagan pa ang kanyang problema (I don’t want President Duterte to be caught in the middle because I regard him more than a father. He is already old and he has done so much for the country, I don’t want to add to his problems),” he added.
Go has yet to formally file his withdrawal from the presidential race, but Commission on Elections (Comelec) said he has until Election Day, May 9, 2022, to do so. (PNA)