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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announces retirement from politics

Duterte, who has been president since 2016, is ineligible to seek another term in the next year’s presidential vote.

His ruling PDP-Laban party instead nominated the 76-year-old for the position of vice-president.

But Duterte announced on Saturday that he won’t be running for VP, saying that he had made this decision in response to the “public’s wishes.”

“Today, I announce my retirement from politics,” he said, appearing at the Commission on Elections center in capital Manila alongside loyalist Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, who was registered PDP-Laban party’s candidate for vice-president instead.

“The overwhelming… sentiment of the Filipinos is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the constitution” to run for the vice presidency, he insisted.

Philippine Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, accompanied by President Rodrigo Duterte, files his certificate of candidacy to join the vice presidential race in Manila. © Reuters / Lisa Marie David

Duterte’s decision to exit the race could clear the way for his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for the top job in the country.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said that she wouldn’t be seeking the presidency because she had agreed with her father that only one of them would participate in the national election on May 9, 2022. Duterte’s absence from the ballot could therefore now allow her to enter the race.

Incidentally, the 43-year-old replaced her father as the mayor of Davao City when Duterte became the Philippines president five years ago. She also served as the city head between 2010 and 2013.

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who was the only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions, was the first to file his candidacy for the presidential election on Friday.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno, along with senator and former police chief Panfilo Lacson, have also announced their intention to run for office.

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