The authoritarian populist remains popular but constitution bars him from seeking a second term
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday he will not run for vice president in 2022 and will retire from politics, potentially paving the way for his daughter to contest the country's highest office.
Polls show that the authoritarian firebrand, notorious for sanctioning deadly police violence, remains nearly as popular as when he was swept to victory in 2016 on a promise to rid the country of drugs; however he is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term.
Duterte, 76, had been expected to run for the No. 2 job, a plan which most Filipinos oppose as violating the spirit of the constitution.
“The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I’m not qualified, and it would be a violation of the constitution,” Duterte said. “In obedience to the will of the people.”
“I will follow what you wish and today I announce my retirement from politics,” he added.
Analysts say it is crucial for Duterte to have a loyal successor to insulate him from expected legal action, at home or by the International Criminal Court, over the thousands of state killings in his war on drugs since 2016.