President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on his second best choice for next year’s presidential elections after his long-time aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go announced he is withdrawing from the race last week.
“We do not want to preempt what could happen in the next few days and months,” acting presidential spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
“I also do not want to preempt the decision of other candidates and parties who may want to endorse President Duterte, too,” he added.
Among the presidential contenders, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has openly sought the endorsement of Duterte, who is running for senator in the May 9, 2022 synchronized polls.
Domagoso also publicly declared he is open to adopting Duterte, who filed his certificate of candidacy under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan as did Go, in his own senatorial lineup.
The chief executive earlier ruled out the possibility of supporting former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running in tandem with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Duterte said neither can he form an alliance with Lakas-CMD which his daughter now heads because of its alliance with Marcos.
“I cannot because Marcos is there. I am not impressed with him. He’s really a weak leader,” the President said in a mix of English and Filipino at a recorded event in which he was asked if there would be an alliance between his group and his daughter’s new party.
“I do not malign anyone, he is really weak because he was a spoiled child, [an] only son. Of course, he can talk, he delivers English articulately because he studied in several places abroad. But if you say there is a crisis, he’s a weak leader and he has baggage,” Duterte added.
Go has yet to formally withdraw his certificate of candidacy a week after he announced his decision to back out from the presidential race on Nov. 30.
The Commission on Elections said the waiting game as to who are really running may hamper the conduct of orderly polls.
“The prolonged uncertainty of whether a person is running or not is not conducive to orderly elections,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.