Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte retires from politics

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Oct. 2 (UPI) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday that he will drop plans to run for vice president amid criticism.

Duterte was barred from running for president in 2022 due to a constitutional provision in the Philippines limiting presidents to one term, and had accepted the ruling PDP-Laban Party’s endorsement to run for the country’s second-highest post instead.

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He said he wanted to run for vice president to continue his administration’s efforts against insurgency and illegal drugs, but faced widespread criticism that this was a way to circumvent the provision barring presidents from seeking a second term, Philstar.com reported.

During his retirement announcement, The Washington Post noted that Duterte cited a recent survey that found the majority of Filipinos believe him running for vice president violates the intention of the Constitution.

“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 told Philstar.com. “In obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I will follow what you want.”

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“Today, I announce my retirement from politics,” Duterte added.

Constitution framer Christian Monsod had warned the move to run for vice president was “insidious,” even though no law explicitly prohibits an incumbent president from seeking the vice presidency.

Michael Yusingco, an Ateneo Policy Center senior research fellow, previously told Philstar.com that the ban on the president seeking re-election in the Constitution shows that it “abhors the concentration of executive power on a single person.”

Duterte, 76, endorsed his former aide-turned-senator, Bong Go, to run for vice president instead, according to the Post.

Boxing champion and Filipino senator Manny Pacquiao officially announced in September he will run for president in 2022 and announced his retirement from the sport late last month.

Duterte ran for president in 2016 on a promise to eliminate drugs, crime and government corruption, which he failed to fulfill.

Last month the International Criminal Court authorized an investigation into allegations crimes were committed in his war on drugs campaign that then-Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested in May, citing belief that “the crime against humanity of murder had been committed” in the Philippines in the campaign between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019.

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