| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Philippine leader Duterte’s preferred successor quits presidential race

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Rodrigo Duterte’s favored successor, announced his withdrawal from the presidential run on Tuesday, leaving the administration without a candidate in next year’s polls.

Go, Duterte’s long-time adviser, recently suggested that he would withdraw from the presidential race, and the president stated he supported his choice.

The popular Duterte’s departure raises issues about who he will now endorse in the May 2022 election. The 76-year-old leader is not eligible for re-election, but will run for a Senate seat.

“I and President Duterte are prepared to support whoever will honestly serve and can continue and safeguard Duterte’s legacy toward a more comfortable, safe, and prosperous existence for our children,” Go stated in a Facebook live address.

According to analysts, Duterte wants to guarantee that an ally follows him so that he is shielded from any legal action at home or by the International Criminal Court, which has opened an investigation into the thousands of deaths in his “war on drugs.”

Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Duterte’s daughter, is competing for the mostly ceremonial deputy role with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of late Philippine dictator and namesake Ferdinand Marcos, who has emerged as an early leader.

Political watchers believe Go’s exit from the campaign would boost the Marcos/Duterte-Carpio ticket by uniting the Dutertes’ voting base around the 43-year-old mayor, and that support may extend to Marcos.

“There is no longer any doubt about administrative support,” said Aries Arugay, a visiting fellow at the ISEAS Yusof-Ishak Institute and a political science professor at the University of the Philippines.

Marcos is competing against former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Francisco Domingo, and Senator Panfilo Lacson. He is facing various disqualification charges stemming from an almost three-decade-old tax evasion conviction.

  • Reuters