Some presidential aspirants welcome Bong Go's withdrawal from 2022 race

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2021 10:06 PM

2022

MANILA— Some 2022 presidential aspirants on Tuesday wished Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go well after he backed out of the presidential race, with one of them saying President Rodrigo Duterte's longtime aide made the right decision.

Go, whose term as senator will end only in 2025, earlier in the day announced he is dropping his presidential bid because he supposedly did not want to add to Duterte's problems, and his family was also against it.

Labor leader Leody De Guzman welcomed Go's move, as this supposedly would prevent a Duterte-backed candidate in Malacañang. 

“Siguro, maganda ‘yun. Dapat talaga huwag nang magtangka ang mga Duterte na pumuwesto pa sa mataas na posisyon ng ating pamahalaan dahil masama talaga ang karanasan natin. Sa halos 5 taong panunungkulan ni Duterte, lahat halos nalabag,” De Guzman told reporters during a protest action near the Mendiola Peace Arch. 

(Maybe, that’s good. The Dutertes should really stop trying to hold high positions in our government because our experience is really bad. During the 5 years of Duterte's presidency, almost all violations were committed.)

“Lahat ng karapatan na maghayag, tulad ngayon, ‘yung karapatan na mabuhay ay nalalabag. Tama lang kay Bong Go na huwag na niyang ibalik ang Duterte sa Malacañang,” he added. 

(The right to express, like what we are experiencing now, and the right to life have been violated. It's just right that Bong Go no longer seek to bring a Duterte-style leadership back in Malacanang.)

De Guzman noted he is also not threatened by the consolidation of the forces of Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Duterte, as well other parties backing their tandem.

“Tingin ko ‘yun ay natural na mangyayari dahil alam naman natin na iisa ang balahibo nila, iisa ang kulay. ‘Yung kasabihan nga na 'Birds of the same feather, flock together," said De Guzman. 

(I think that was expected to happen naturally because we know that they belong to the same breed, the same color. As the saying goes, birds of the same feather, flock together.)

"Pero alam ko na ang mga tao ay galit sa trapo, galit sa mga political dynasties sapagkat mahabang panahon na ang pag-puwesto ng mga political dynasties sa ating bansa ay hindi naman nagkaroon ng pagbabago sa buhay ng mga mamamayang Pilipino,” the labor leader added.

(But I know that people are angry at traditional politicians and political dynasties, because for the longest time that political dynasties were in power, the lives of the Filipino people did not improve.)

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'IT IS HIS RIGHT'

Vice President Leni Robredo said withdrawing is within the scope of Go's right as a candidate, adding she is not bothered by it because her camp's plans do not rely on the decisions of other aspirants.

"Ang lakad namin, hindi naman relative to other candidates eh. Yung lakad namin, tuloy-tuloy lang kami at hindi naman kami apektado ng mga nagsa-substitute, umaalis. Sa amin, klaro sa amin ano dapat naming gawin," she said.

(Our plans are not relative to the other candidates' activities. We are just keep going because we are not affected by those substituting, or backing out. Our plans have already been clear.)

Sen. Panfilo Lacson wished Go the best of luck on his plans.

Speaking to reporters, Lacson said Go has earlier indicated during lounge breaks in the Senate that he was “half-hearted” over his candidacy.

“Pag nasa lounge kami, talagang he would feel dejected, frustrated doon sa mga developments. At ang sinasabi niya sa amin, kino-confide niya sa aming dalawa ni Senate President... ‘Hindi ko alam paano ako napunta rito kasi talagang happy na ako... ‘Yung pagka-Senador nga, hindi ko na akalain na naging Senador ako. Tapos ready naman ako mag-vice president,'" said Lacson, Partido Reporma's standard bearer. 

(When we are in the lounge, he would feel dejected, frustrated with the developments. He was telling to us that he does not know how he got there, and that he is already happy now... He said he did not expect to become a senator and was ready to become vice president.)

"'Pero itong presidential run, parang this is something that I don’t expect and I have not prepared for.’ So, ‘yon, kasi maski noon pa ini-indicate niya na talagang medyo half-hearted ‘yung kanyang… Parang napilitan lang siya. So, ‘yun lang ang masasabi ko, and I wish him luck,” he continued.

(He said that his presidential run is something that he didn't expect to do and he has not prepared for. He was indicating even before that he was half-hearted in his presidential bid, and that he was just forced to do it.)

Lacson said he will support his fellow senator's next decision. 

“After all, he’s my colleague in the Senate. Kami kasi mayroon kaming unwritten rule, ano. Pagka kapwa mo senador, kapwa mo senador ‘yan. And you don’t—normally, hangga’t maiiwasan, you don’t speak ill of your colleagues in the Senate. So, good luck to Senator Bong Go, ano man ang kanyang plano sa buhay henceforth. Good luck sa kanya,” he said.

The question now, Lacson said, is who Duterte would endorse.

“Sino na ngayon ang administration candidate na i-endoso ni Pangulong Duterte? Kasi kung wala na si Senator Bong Go, effectively wala silang kandidato,” Lacson said.

DUTERTE ENDORSEMENT

Asked if he is open to holding talks with the PDP-Laban faction backed by Duterte, Lacson said communication remains open "on a personal level." 

He said the communication is between Partido Reporma president Pantaleon Alvarez and PDP-Laban's Alfonso Cusi, as the former was a former member of the ruling party. 

Lacson said, however, that he would not seek the backing of the administration, noting that it would be "presumptuous" to do so.

“An endorsement is endorsement. No matter kung ano ang kine-carry ng endorsement, it’s still an endorsement. Doon na lang muna tayo. Pero mahirap sagutin kung open, willing or will seek (it is hard for me to answer if I am open, willing, or will seek.) But definitely we will not seek endorsement (from the administration) dahil masyadong presumptuous.”

He added that he and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III are determined to focus on their campaign and proposed solutions to tackle the country’s problems.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, meanwhile, said he would not refuse a potential election endorsement from Duterte.

"Hindi ako tatanggi. Ang pulubi, hindi nakakapamili," Domagoso told reporters in a chance interview.

(I will not refuse. Beggars cannot choose.)

"Umaasa ako sa lahat ng tulong kasi from the beginning, nagtapat ako na kailangan ko ng tulong... Kailangan ko ng mga allies, loyalists, believers, followers and volunteers," he said.

(I am looking forward to receiving help because at the very start, I have been honest that I need help... I need allies, loyalists, believers, followers and volunteers.)

Meanwhile, vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello said that it is vital to unite the opposition in order to defeat the "axis of evil incorporated" led by the families of Marcos, Duterte, Arroyo, and Estrada. 

The former presidents' political parties endorsed the tandem of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.

The other presidential aspirants, including Marcos and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, have yet to release a statement on Go's withdrawal.

The Commission on Elections is expected to release the final list of candidates in the coming weeks after removing those found to be nuisance.

The official campaign period for the May 9, 2022, elections will begin on Feb. 8, 2022.

— Reports from Josiah Antonio, Mike Navallo, Katrina Domingo, and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

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