SEN. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go will formalize his withdrawal from the 2022 presidential race at the right time as he advised supporters to stop camping outside the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila to avoid getting infected with Covid-19.
"Ako po'y nakikiusap sa mga supporters, sa mga leaders po namin ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte na kung maaari po huwag n'yo na lang po akong hintayin sa Comelec lalo po akong hindi makakapunta diyan sa Comelec kung nag-aabang ho kayo. Mas gusto kong ligtas po sila dahil delikado pa po ang panahon, may Covid-19 pa po (I am appealing to our supporters, to our leaders with President Duterte that if possible not to wait for me at the Comelec saying that he cannot go to the area if they are still there waiting for him. I want you to be safe from the virus because Covid-19 is still around and dangerous)," he said.
At the same time, Go reiterated his appeal to his supporters to respect his decision, saying his decision to pull out can unite President Duterte's supporters toward the end of his term. He also added that he will support whoever can continue and protect the legacy of this administration.
He again assured everyone that no matter what happens to him politically, his love and care for his fellow Filipinos will not wane.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that Go has until May 9, 2022, election day, to file his statement of withdrawal from the presidential race.
Jimenez added that Go's name will be placed in the ballot if he would not file his statement of withdrawal before printing in January 2022.
"Unless he withdraws, he will continue to be considered a candidate," he said. "He has yet to file. He will become an official when the campaign period starts, in case he did not file his withdrawal."
He said if Go's name will be included in the ballot and would decide to formally withdraw on the day of the elections, the votes he received will not be counted.
"If his name was included in the ballot and he was not able to withdraw, he would not be disqualified. But if he withdrew on election day and was able to pull out from the race, then the votes received by that name on the ballot would be considered stray," he said.