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‘It’s not my time yet’

I don’t want President Duterte to get caught in between. My love for him is more than like a love for a father. He’s getting old and has done a lot for our country

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Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go announced that he will no longer run as president in an ambush interview at the opening of the Museo El Deposito in San Juan City. / Photograph by Yummie Dingding for the daily tribune @tribunephl_yumi

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday formally withdrew his candidacy for president in the 2022 May Elections.

Go, standard-bearer of President Rodrigo Duterte’s faction inside the ruling PDP Laban, announced that he is dropping out of the presidential race during a chance interview with reporters in San Juan City.

“My family is actually against it. That’s why I think it is not my time yet. Only God can tell when my chance is,” he told reporters.

The Senator indicated last week that he might possibly back out from the presidential race after admitting that he is “hesitant” in seeking the country’s highest post.

He said he was all set in running for vice president and the major changes in his party’s standard-bearers left him “in shock” and unprepared.

“In the past few days, I realized that my heart and mind are contradicting my own actions. My body and mind are resisting. I am only a human who gets hurt and tired,” he said. “That’s why I am withdrawing from the race.”

“I don’t want President Duterte to get caught in between. My love for him is more than like a love for a father. He’s getting old and has done a lot for our country. That’s why I don’t want to add to his burdens. I will remain loyal to him and I promise to stay with him until the end,” he added.

Go initially filed his candidacy for vice president in the 2022 polls but later backed out to run for president.

He filed his candidacy under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) — effectively substituting Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa who served as the original presidential bet of the administration party.

His withdrawal from the presidential race, however, leaves the ruling party with no standard-bearers.

“I leave my fate to God and the Filipino people as I vow to do my best every day to serve selflessly and tirelessly. I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country, and for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders,” he said.

“President Duterte and I are ready to support anyone who will offer genuine service and can continue the legacy of the administration towards a more comfortable, and safe life for our children,” he added.

The PDP Laban said it respects the Senator’s decision and vowed to continue supporting his endeavors.

“I’m sure he did it for good reasons and PDP respects and supports Senator Bong Go,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PDP Laban president, said in a text message to reporters.

Other presidential aspirants, meanwhile, said they respect Go’s decision of bowing out from the presidential race.

Partido Reporma’s standard-bearer Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the news did not come out to him as a surprise, disclosing that Go had previously confided to him and his running-mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III about his frustrations on gunning for the country’s highest seat.

“He previously indicated that he is half-hearted in running. That’s all I can say and I wish him luck. After all, he’s my colleague in the Senate,” Lacson said.

For his part, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao also expressed a similar sentiment and said: “I don’t think anything is final or formal yet. I respect the decisions of other candidates.”

Pacquiao, who is now running under the Cebu-based Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI) party, was caught in a squabble with President Duterte after the ruling party was divided into two factions due to the upcoming polls.

Both groups claimed ownership of PDP Laban and have endorsed separate national candidates for 2022.

Their months-long rift, however, ended with none between them using the Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance of PDP Laban as the Commission on Elections has yet to resolve the ongoing row

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