MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go on Monday declined his partymates' push for him to run as the standard bearer of the PDP-Laban wing headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Go thumbed down the nomination through a letter to Cusi dated August 30, saying "he would rather devote [his] time and attention" in his work as the head of the Senate Health Committee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As much as I want to respond to the clamor of many of our partymates, I most respectfully decline the said endorsement," the letter read.
"As I have said many times before, I am not interested in the presidency," he said.
Earlier this year, PDP-Laban has split into 2 groups after Cusi and his allies pushed to have Go as their standard bearer and President Rodrigo Duterte as the ruling party's vice presidential bet in 2022.
The other group, led by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, is reportedly rooting for Sen. Manny Pacquiao to run for president under the PDP-Laban banner.
On August 4, the Cusi faction adopted PDP-Laban National Executive Committee (NEC) Resolution No. 5, which formally nominated Go and Duterte to topbill the party's 2022 lineup.
"I am deeply honored by the trust and confidence of the members of the NEC in my capability to run for the presidency this coming 2022 elections," Go said.
"I would rather devote my time and attention in helping the government and our people overcome this pandemic as soon as possible," he said.
"This includes not just crafting laws but also performing representation and constituency services," he said.
Go's statement comes a week before the Cusi wing's September 8 event, where the faction's standard bearer is expected to be announced.
In February 2018, Go said he would not run for senator, saying he is "not interested in running for a Senate seat."
Eight months after, Go filed his certificate of candidacy before the Commission on Elections, ran for senator, and won a seat in the chamber the following year.