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Who stands to gain the most from Bong Go's impending withdrawal from the presidential race?

By NICK GARCIA Published Dec 04, 2021 9:34 am Updated Dec 07, 2021 10:04 am

With Sen. Bong Go announcing his withdrawal from the 2022 presidential race, who's the candidate that stands to gain the most out of it?

Go told reporters on Nov. 30 that he is withdrawing his candidacy for president, saying that he does want to put President Rodrigo Duterte in a tight spot as the president’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is running for vice president along with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running for president.

Though Go has yet to officially withdraw his nomination, Dindo Manhit, founder and president of think tank Stratbase ADR Institute, said that Go's expected exit may mean that Marcos Jr., son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, would already get President Duterte's backing.

“It's very clear that with Go's withdrawal, the one that would benefit is Bongbong (Marcos)," Manhit told PhilSTAR L!fe. "Duterte is supportive of (him) if Go is not around."

Recently, Duterte-Carpio also called for unity among her supporters.

"To quote (Go), 'for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders,' tuloy-tuloy na po tayo sa ating pagkakaisa kasama ang BBM-SARA Uniteam," Duterte-Carpio said in a Dec. 2 statement.

“Nanawagan po ako sa lahat ng sumusuporta ng administrasyong Duterte na magkaisa sa ating layunin,” she added.

Duterte has recently launched tirades against Marcos Jr., calling him a "weak leader" for one. Duterte also floated a blind item about a candidate from a well-known family and father who uses cocaine, that many took to be Marcos Jr. Marcos Jr., however, said he did not felt alluded to and took a drug test to dispute the perception.

But Manhit said such attacks may have worked to Marcos Jr.'s benefit.

“That basically means ilabas mo na iyong mga negative. And since it's now out in the public, it will actually help Bongbong deal with it,” he said.

“The tirades were an opportunity for, I believe, the other side to reach out,” Manhit said. “There might have been an engagement between the president and Marcos Jr., and maybe he was appeased and has been suddenly supportive of the (Marcos-Duterte tandem).”

We can only ask Go if it's planned or not. And even if we ask him, I'm not sure if he'll tell us the real answer

But for Edmund Tayao, executive director of the Local Government Development Foundation, it’s just that Go may have simply taken stock of the full measure of the task ahead.

“He has to do so much to improve on his numbers, build a kind of political machinery to build his advantage,” Tayao said. “But he is not ready.”

“Mahirap isiping planado itong stratehiyang ito, kung ito man ay stratehiya. Ang sigurado lang diyan, kung may mababakanteng kandidato, may mababakanteng suporta at lilipat iyon... Di natin alam kung kanino," Tayao added.

Comelec said a possible final list of candidates for the country’s presidential and vice presidential race may be out by Dec. 15.