MANILA -- Former Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday announced his withdrawal from the senatorial race in this year's mid-term elections.
In a statement of withdrawal submitted before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the senatorial bet of the People’s Reform Party (PRP) decided to back out from the forthcoming polls due to health reasons.
"It is with a truly heavy heart that I announce the withdrawal of my senatorial bid. I have recently undergone a percutaneous coronary intervention following the discovery of an unstable angina coronary disease earlier this week. In the days since the procedure, my family and I have been forced to confront the reality of my physical situation and what it ultimately means for my aspirations to public service," Roque said.
While stressing that he is not closing the doors for a return to government service, he said he needs to rest for at least two months from now.
"I ran for senator because I wanted to be of service in a way that I know I will be highly effective. It is my sincere hope that I will someday again have the honor to serve the Filipino people as a legislator, or in whatever other capacity I may be of service. I continue to support our President and this administration and wish only the best for our country," he said.
On the other hand, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said Roque’s name will be removed from the official ballot to be used in the forthcoming polls after the requirements of the withdrawal have been satisfied.
Incidentally, the poll body is looking to start the printing of the ballots next week.
Roque filed his Certificate of Candidacy for senator on October 17, 2018.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said his predecessor is free to make the decision.
"Everybody is free to change one's decision," he said.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte asked Roque to lead the proposed reversion of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) but he opted to join the 2019 Senate race.
Aside from being the Palace spokesperson, Panelo concurrently serves as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. (LEAGUE ONLINE NEWS with reports from PNA)