Philippines President Duterte Will Retire Instead Of Running For Vice President
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is canceling plans to run for vice president after his term as the country’s chief executive ends next year, he said Saturday, a move the controversial president framed as his retirement from politics.
Duterte’s office said in a statement Saturday he’s “bowing to the will of the people” by abandoning his vice presidential bid, citing recent polls that indicate most Philippine voters don’t want him to run for the country’s second highest office.
Duterte—whose six-year term as president ends next year—had initially planned to run for vice president in May, a move some critics cast as a ploy to avoid prosecution and hold onto power even though the constitution bars him from seeking a second term.
Christopher Lawrence Go—a senator and Duterte ally from the PDP–Laban party—filed for a vice presidential run Saturday, and Duterte and Go appeared jointly afterwards, according to the Times and the Philippine News Agency.
A former mayor of the Philippine city of Davao, Duterte became president in 2016 after vowing to aggressively crack down on drug trafficking. Since then, some news outlets and human rights organizations have linked his drug war to thousands of extrajudicial killings by both law enforcement agents and independent vigilantes. The International Criminal Court greenlit a probe into drug-related killings last month, but a spokesperson for Duterte—who withdrew the Philippines from the ICC two years ago—said the country won’t work with the international tribunal’s investigation, Reuters reported. Duterte has also drawn attention for his response to the Covid-19 pandemic: He threatened to use the military to shoot and “bury” people who violate quarantine orders last year, and several months ago, he reportedly floated arresting people who refuse coronavirus vaccines to “inject the vaccine into their buttocks.”
Famed boxer Manny Pacquiao is running to succeed Duterte as president, he announced last month. Pacquiao was previously a Duterte ally, but he fell out of favor with the president after criticizing a perceived soft approach to China.
What To Watch For
Duterte’s apparent retirement could set the stage for his daughter—Sara Duterte-Carpio—to launch a presidential bid. She’s performed well in polls, but she indicated she’s unwilling to run in the same election cycle as her father, the BBC reported.
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