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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday he was retiring from politics and stepping down as vice president, which would allow him to remain in power in the number two job for another six years.
The move comes after the popularity of the move-year-old populist leader declined in recent opinion polls, indicating that most Filipinos thought his election as vice president would violate the constitution.
“Today, I am announcing my retirement from politics,” Duterte was quoted as saying by Reuters. Duterte spoke with his close aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who was registered to run for vice-president of the ruling PDP-Laban party in next year’s election.
“In obedience to the will of the people, who made me president many years ago, I am now telling my countrymen, I will follow your will,” Duterte said.
Duterte has been one of the most popular presidents in Philippine history since coming to power in 2011, but his support has waned during the coronavirus epidemic.
A poll released this week found support for him and his daughter Sarah Duterte, mayor of Davao, the family’s birthplace, which many Filipinos believe could run for president.
According to a Pulse Asia poll released on Wednesday, Mr D Duterte is the second most popular potential candidate for vice-president after Senate President Vincent Sotto. The same poll showed Ms Duterte as the most popular of the potential candidates for the top post but her support dropped from 28 to 24 per cent.
The Philippine constitution prohibits presidents from seeking a second term, but analysts say his daughter or another ally, number two, could help protect Mr Duterte from future legal consequences while the International Criminal Court investigates the murder of his opponent. -Drug campaign.
“I think he’s reading the writing on the wall, and the writing on the wall says he’s responsible if he runs himself,” said political analyst Richard Hyderian. “He thought he was shoe-in for the vice presidency কিন্তু but there’s a clear pioneer, and it’s Senate President Tito Soto, who has given him a huge lead over it.”
Boxer Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isco” Moreno have filed their candidacies for the presidency. Filipinos have also speculated that Ferdinand “Bambang” Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator and political ally of Duterte, may enter the race. Marcos has been approved by his late father’s KBL political party.
The deadline for submitting nominations is October-October, but parties can until mid-November to replace a candidate who has been killed, withdrawn or disqualified by the country’s election commission.
Twitter: R John Redwrites