Sara thanks Go for heeding call for unity among Duterte supporters

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Sara thanks Go for heeding call for unity among Duterte supporters
This photo release shows Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, running-mate of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos, in a campaign caravan in Quezon on December 1.
Bongbong Marcos campaign Facebook release

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go's backing out of the presidential race consolidates President Rodrigo Duterte's under one campaign — a wish she had sought from her father's supporters, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said on Thursday.

Two days after Go announced that he is withdrawing his presidential bid, Duterte-Carpio said she had earlier called for unity among supporters of her father’s administration. Go, Duterte's chosen successor, has yet to formally file the withdrawal of his candidacy but had been hinting weeks prior that he might back out.

"After I launched my candidacy for vice president of the Philippines, I called on everyone supporting the Duterte administration to unite under the mission to continue and further the reach of the good initiatives of my father,” Duterte-Carpio said in Filipino.

"I am thankful for your heeding my request," she said without addressing Go by name.

Quoting Go, who said he was withdrawing "for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders," Duterte-Carpio said the unity that she and presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. have been working for "so we can achieve our dreams for our country" will continue.

Go's impending withdrawal may leave the ruling PDP-Laban party, where the president sits as chairman in one wing, without a presidential bet in the 2022 polls.

Without Go in the presidential race, it is unclear who the president will now back as his successor, as Duterte recently called Marcos a "weak leader."

Duterte has also made reference to a "weak leader" who uses cocaine, which prompted presidential aspirants to take drug tests. Marcos said he did not feel alluded to in the president's comments, but he took a cocaine test anyway and tested negative.

PDP-Laban has said it will "move forward" despite Go's announcement and said that it is "committed to [supporting and campaigning] for all its candidates." At the end of the filing period in October, PDP-Laban had eight candidates to the Senate.

Duterte has since decided to also run for senator.

Four political clans under one coalition

As it is, the country’s four biggest political clans have formed an alliance to back Marcos and Duterte-Carpio. These are: 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.

In an event in Quezon province on Wednesday, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo donned a green shirt in support of Duterte-Carpio at an event with Marcos. Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, son of the former president, also announced that he is part of the UniTeam’s senatorial slate.

Another aspiring senator under the UniTeam ticket is former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque is a former human rights lawyer who previously spoke out against atrocities during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Despite hinting last month that he would likely support Go, he now shares the stage with the ousted dictator’s son in pre-campaign caravans. — with reports from News5/Dale De Vera

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