Long-time adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has turned down the ruling party’s endorsement to run as its candidate in the 2022 elections, a step that some observers believe could pave the way for Duterte’s daughter to run.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, in a letter to the PDP-Laban party, stated that he intended to focus his efforts on combating the pandemic, urging his supporters to choose candidates who will maintain Duterte’s policies and programs.
He stated in the letter, which was made public on Monday, that “as much as I wish to respond to the clamor of many of our party members, I most politely deny the aforementioned support.”
Go has earlier stated that if Duterte was his running mate, he would consider running for president.
The constitution forbids Duterte, 76, from seeking a second term, but his opponents say he wants to keep his grip on power.
Duterte has stated that if his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio does not run for president, he will run for vice president.
Duterte and his daughter had recently led opinion polls.
“It’s possible that Sara Duterte and the father reconciled on strategy for one candidate for 2022,” said political analyst Victor Manhit.
Duterte-Carpio would not say whether she and her father had reached an agreement on political strategy. She has been mentioned in the media as stating she is considering a presidential candidacy.
While Duterte’s popularity remains high, his administration is coming under fire for its handling of the pandemic, which has resulted in hospitals being overburdened.
According to analyst Earl Parreno of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms, Go’s decision to withdraw would have been approved by Duterte, who emphasised that “nothing is final yet.”
Starting in October, candidates must officially file their candidacies.