SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go announced on Tuesday, November 30, his withdrawal from the presidential race for the 2022 elections, forcing Cebu City’s local leaders to search for a new presidential contender to support.

“In the past few days, I realized that my heart and my mind are contradicting my actions. Talagang nagre-resist po ang aking katawan, puso at isipan. Tao lang po ako, nasasaktan at napapagod din,” Go said during a Bonifacio Day event in San Juan City.

(My body, heart and mind are really resisting. I’m just a person who also gets hurt and tired.)

He said his primary consideration for his decision was his family who were against his presidential candidacy and President Rodrigo Duterte for whom he served as aide for a long time.

He said he did not want to put President Duterte in a bind.

“My love for him is more than that for a father. He is already old, and he has already done a lot for the country, so I don’t want to add to his problems. I remain faithful to him and I promised to stay with him for life,” he added in Tagalog.

Go said he was the one willing to make the “supreme sacrifice” for the good of the country and for the sake of unity among their supporters and leaders.

He vowed to continue rendering “selfless and tireless” service to the Filipino people.

With Go’s withdrawal from the presidential race, members of Partido Barug, Cebu City’s administration party, are now set to decide by Dec. 10, 2021 whom they will endorse for President in the 2022 elections.

Last Nov. 16, then Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama and his official slate had formally declared their support for the presidential bid of Go and the vice presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as well as the senatorial bid of President Duterte.

Rama’s slate is composed of a coalition of three local parties: Partido Barug, Partido Kusug and Partido Panaghiusa.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu Tuesday, Nov. 30, now Mayor Rama commended Go’s act as a “show of respect” to the family of President Duterte.

“It is a commendable act on Bong Go’s part because he wants to protect the family, and you know I have the statement that politics will pass, friendship should last, family ties cast. And that is where he was holding his ground, and for me that was very commendable. He was showing respect on his part to keep the family of Duterte intact,” Rama said.

“Now that Bong Go has withdrawn, we are waiting on who PRRD and Bong Go will support and endorse for President. The time frame would be on or before Dec. 10,” Rama said.

Among the presidential candidates still in the running are Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, former senator and dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Sens. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

Separately, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino expressed his disappointment at Go’s decision to withdraw from the presidential race.

“Disheartening but will respect SBG’s decision,” Dino said in a statement. (JKV)