No substitution for Duterte bet Bong Go as he plans to end presidential bid

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
No substitution for Duterte bet Bong Go as he plans to end presidential bid
This September 8, 2021 file photo shows chairs and tables set up at the LausGroup Convention Centre in San Fernando, Pampanga where the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi would hold their national convention.
Handout / PDP-Laban, file

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go’s announcement that he is withdrawing his presidential bid may leave the ruling PDP-Laban party, a faction of which President Rodrigo Duterte sits as chairman, without a presidential bet.

Go, Duterte’s long-time aide, announced on Tuesday that he is backing out as candidate for president as he admitted that he was not prepared to seek the position. Go is a first-term senator who was elected only in 2019.

"Since it would be a voluntary withdrawal, no substitution," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters.

READ: Bong Go says unprepared for presidential race, withdraws

Go initially filed his Certificate of Candidacy under the ruling PDP-Laban party, but substituted for Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan presidential bet Grepor Belgica when Duterte convinced him earlier in November to seek the presidency.

PDDS is an allied party of the administration PDP-Laban party.

Go backing out of the presidential race leaves five high-profile aspirants still in the running.

Former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of the ousted dictator, has been leading in pre-election surveys, although his bid faces petitions for cancellation of his COC and disqualification. His running mate is Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president's daughter.

The ticket of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio has the backing of a coalition of parties led by political families: Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats, Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago, former President Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Marcos-led Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

READ: Political clans form coalition to support Bongbong-Sara tandem

The alliance — called by their critics as "unholy" — was likely forged as a result of Marcos Jr.’s lead in early pre-election surveys, according to political scientists Cleve Arguelles and Jean Franco.

Other aspirants are opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and labor leader Leody de Guzman.

Go made his announcement on Bonifacio Day, and as it fell on a holiday, the Comelec’s law department cannot accept any filings, Jimenez said. He however stressed that since Go is filing for a withdrawal, his personal appearance is required.

The list of candidates for the 2022 polls may be out on December 15. — with Gaea Katreena Cabico, Xave Gregorio

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