Give President Duterte time to decide on who to endorse among the remaining presidential aspirants in the May 2022 polls.
Thus, said Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles on Friday, Dec. 3 after he was asked about the Chief Executive’s next move following Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s apparent withdrawal from the Palace race.
“Si Pangulo [The President] has options ‘no, has choices that he has to make. And we should give him the time to make those options, to make those choices, to make those decisions, and give him the leeway to make the announcement,” Nograles told reporters during a virtual press conference.
“Kung kinakailangan at kung kailan niyang gustong gawin ay antayin na lang po natin si Pangulong Duterte (As to the need or the time President Duterte wants to do it arises, let’s just wait for it),” he said.
Although he didn’t declare his presidential bid under that of the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Go’s closeness to Duterte made him the administration’s de facto pick as far as the country’s top post is concerned.
Duterte had also endorsed Go, who served as his personal aide for years before the latter entered politics in 2019.
But the rookie senator’s announcement to withdraw threatens to leave Duterte–one of the most popular presidents in the country’s history–without an “annointed one”.
Complicating matters is the fact that Duterte has criticized most of the remaining Palace hopefuls in the lead up the May 2022 elections. Already taking hits from the President are opposition bet, Vice President Leni Robredo; former Senator Bongbong Marcos; and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
Asked by a reporter if not endorsing anybody at all was among Duterte’s options, Nograles gave an evasive reply.
“Hintayin na lang po natin si Pangulong (Let’s just wait for President) Duterte to make any announcements with regard to that ‘no. So, obviously may mga option siya (he has options) and it is up to him to reveal his choices when the time comes,” he said.
At any rate, Nograles confirmed during the presser that PDP-Laban has already internally discussed Go’s withdrawal. However, he didn’t share any details about their meeting.
Duterte chairs PDP-Laban, while Nograles serves as its executive vice president.
Duterte said in a speech in Zamboanga City Thursday that he respects Go’s decision to back out from the Palace race.