President Rodrigo Duterte is backing out of an announced plan to run for vice president in next year’s elections and will retire from politics after his term ends.
Duterte announced the surprise decision Saturday after accompanying his former longtime aide, Sen. Bong Go, who instead filed his own candidacy for the vice presidency at a Commission on Elections center.
His latest move fuels speculation that his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City, will be running for president in 2022 under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan.
In a speech at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City, Duterte said he withdrew his vice-presidential bid in consideration of public sentiment that his intent to seek the second top post violates the Constitution.
“Now, I’d like to address myself to the entire nation. The universal sentiment of the Filipino has been reflected in the different surveys and in many forums, caucuses, and meetings to discuss what should I do in my life. The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution,” Duterte said.
He was referring to the June 23 to 26 polls conducted by the Social Weather Stations, which showed that 60 percent of 1,200 adult Filipinos believed that his vice-presidential run could violate the intention of the Constitution, “which should be amended first before he may run for office again.”
The survey result disclosed that only 39 percent chose Duterte as their vice-presidential candidate because they want “his management of the government to continue.”
Duterte expressed gratitude to the Filipino people for trusting him to lead the country for six years.
“And so, in obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say, sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo (my countrymen, I will heed your advice). And today, I announce my retirement from politics. Salamat po sa inyong lahat (Thanks to all of you),” he said.
Duterte’s move prompted Go to “take on the challenge as PDP-Laban’s vice-presidential candidate.”
The President wished Go “all the best and good luck in his quest for the vice presidency.”
Go and Duterte were originally touted as PDP-Laban’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively, for the May 9, 2022 elections.
Go had rejected the nomination, saying he is “not interested in (the) presidency.”
Duterte initially accepted the nomination to ensure the “continuity” of his programs.