MANILA— Presidential aspirant Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go is still a Halalan 2022 contender and his name will be printed on 2022 ballots unless he formally withdraws his certificate of candidacy (COC) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In an interview with reporters Wednesday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez stressed Go has to formally withdraw his COC even as the lawmaker already announced on Tuesday that he was backing out of the May 2022 presidential derby.
“Unless he withdraws, he will continue to be considered a candidate," said Jimenez.
Technically, any candidate may file his/her withdrawal even on election day.
But the votes obtained by a candidate who withdraws but whose name is already on the official ballots will still be counted and considered stray votes.
“Kung di naman siya nag-withdraw at hindi naman siya disqualified, pero on election day nakapag-withdraw na siya, then the votes received by that name on the ballot will be considered stray votes - stray, so bibilangin pero hindi counted (they will be tallied but they won't be counted)," Jimenez explained.
“Bibilangin for record purposes… Pero hindi siya kasama sa (it's not part of the) final tally,” Jimenez added.
Ballots are scheduled to be printed in January 2022.
Consistent with Comelec rules, Go will have to personally file his withdrawal. No electronic filing nor filing through authorized representative shall be allowed.
Go on Nov. 13 filed his candidacy for president as substitute under the party Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS).
But on Tuesday, after two weeks, Go announced he was pulling out of the race. In justifying his withdrawal, the longtime Duterte aide said his family was against his presidential bid.
The senator said Duterte "respects" his withdrawal from the elections.
Go's first term in the Senate ends in 2025.