MANILA -- Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said Senator Christopher "Bong" Go's withdrawal from the 2022 race "signals the consolidation of administration forces" behind his tandem with presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"The call for a unified nation is getting stronger by the day. The withdrawal of Sen. Bong Go from the presidential race reinforces this current and signals the consolidation of administration forces to the BBM-Sara UniTeam," the only sone and namesake of the former dictor said in a statement.
"Go clearly acted his part in strengthening those of us aligned with the Duterte Administration," Marcos said.
"His withdrawal only mirrored his worth as a true public servant, one who is willing to sacrifice his personal aspirations to serve a common purpose and a higher cause: a unified nation crucial to the national interest."
Go said in late November he is dropping out of the race because he does not want President Rodrigo Duterte to be "trapped in the middle."
Duterte had branded Marcos as a "weak leader," while praising his longtime aide Go as "honest" and hard-working. He categorically said he is not supporting Marcos' presidential bid in a November 14 interview.
Political observers say Go's withdrawal from the race would likely benefit the Marcos/Duterte-Carpio ticket as it would consolidate the Dutertes' voter base behind the 43-year-old mayor and that support could extend to Marcos.
"There is no more confusion in terms of administration support," said Aries Arugay, visiting fellow at the ISEAS Yusof-Ishak Institute and political science professor at the University of the Philippines.
Marcos Jr., meanwhile, lamented Duterte's exit from the Senate race, noting that the latter "has achieved so much for the country in a short period of time."
"Although we welcomed with utmost gladness when he earlier filed his Certificate of Candidacy for senator, we respect the wisdom in his decision to withdraw his CoC," he said.