PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE in file photo with Mayor Sara Duterte and Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go.

By Claire Morales True, Managing Editor

SAN JUAN  CITY – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go announced here his withdrawal from the presidential race.

Go, a longtime aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, declared during the National Heroes Day rites at the historic Battle of Pinaglabanan site that his family really does not want him to run from the start.

Go read a statement on his withdrawal before reporters covering the rites and was aired live over DZRH radio-television.

He said he is withdrawing from the race to spare President Duterte from further troubles, adding that it is not yet time for him to run for president.

He admitted that he was hesitant to run for president from the start as he has been body, heart and mind have been contradicting his own action.

With his withdrawal, the Duterte administration is left without a presidential candidate and also a vice presidential candidate.

The presidential race will now be confined to Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso, Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and labor leader Leody de Guzman.

Senator Go was expected to inform officially the Commission on Elections of his withdrawal from the presidential race.

The withdrawal came almost a week after he admitted in Antipolo city that he was still waiting for “a sign from God” on whether or not he should push through with his presidential bid.

“In the past few days, I realized in my heart and my mind are contradicting my actions. Talagang nagre-resist po ang aking katawan, puso, at isipan. Tao lang po ako, nasasaktan at napapagod din,” Go said in San Juan.

“Sa ngayon po, ‘yun ang mga rason ko. That is why I am withdrawing from the race,” he added.

Before getting elected senator in 2019, Go served as special assistant to President Rodrigo Duterte. He also served Duterte while he was Davao city mayor, vice mayor and congressman.