Sen. Bong Go on Tuesday formally withdrew his candidacy for president in the 2022 elections, leaving room for President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse a successor if he so wishes.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez shared a photo of Go filing his withdrawal at the poll body's headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. The law requires that Duterte's top aide withdraw it in person.
"Wala na po ako sa karerang ito sa pagtakbo sa pagkapangulo sa 2022. Nakapagsalita na ako noong Nov. 30. Hinintay ko lang na ipaintindi sa mga supporters ko na talagang nagre-resist ang aking puso at isipan sa pagtakbo bilang pangulo," Go told reporters in an interview.
"Naaawa ako kay Pangulong Duterte, matanda na siya. Ayoko na siyang pahirapan at ayaw rin ng aking pamilya. Sana ay maintindihan niyo ako," he added.
Go assured his supporters that he would continue to serve them even as he was no longer running for president.
He was supposed to run under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, a party allied with PDP-Laban. Go was initially seeking the vice presidency but joined the presidential race to avoid a clash with the latter's daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The younger Duterte is running for vice president alongside presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos, the only son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Following Go's announcement that he would withdraw his presidential bid, PDP-Laban president Alfonso Cusi said he would consult his partymates on their next step forward.
"'Life must go on', the party needs to move forward regardless of the prevailing circumstances," he said.