Bong Go withdraws from presidential race; PDP-Laban now without standard-bearer

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Bong Go announced his withdrawal from the presidential race on Tuesday, saying he does not want President Rodrigo Duterte trapped in the middle ahead of the 2022 national elections.

Go, who is vying for the presidential post with the backing of no less than Duterte, said that his heart and mind contradicted his actions. He added that his family is also against his move to vie for the presidency.

“Ayaw rin talaga ng aking pamilya kaya naisip ko na siguro ay hindi ko pa panahon sa ngayon. Diyos lang ang nakakaalam kung kailan ang tamang panahon,” Go said in an ambush interview.

(My family doesn’t want it either, so I thought maybe this is not my time yet. Only God knows when the right time is.)

“Ayaw ko ring maipit si Pangulong Duterte higit pa 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. Nananatili akong tapat sa kanya at nangako akong sasamahan ko po siya habambuhay,” he added.

( I don’t want President Duterte trapped in the middle because I love him as a father — he is old and has already given much to the country. I don’t want to add to his problems. I will remain loyal to him, and I vow to be with him forever.)

The senator was interviewed during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan for the 158th birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio, wherein the President was invited as a guest.

Go said that his heart and mind have been contradicting his actions in the past few days, but now he leaves his fate to God and the Filipino people.

“Talagang nagre-resist ang aking katawan, puso, at isipan. Tao lang po ako na nasasaktan at napapagod din (There is resistance within my body, heart, and mind. I am only human who gets tired),” he said. “Sa ngayon, yun ang mga rason ko (Those are my reasons). That is why I am withdrawing from the race… I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country and for the sake of unity among our supporters.”

Go was running under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) party, along with Duterte, who decided to seek a Senate seat.

The withdrawal of his presidential bid left the party without a standard-bearer for next year’s elections, though it has yet to be seen if PDP-Laban will form a coalition with the party of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is running for vice president.

Earlier, Duterte-Carpio, who had just joined Lakas-CMD, coalesced with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, who is running for president.

EDV/abc

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