President Rodrigo Duterte has backed out of the senatorial race in the crucial 2022 elections, in what observers see as the latest twist in the Philippine election drama.
No less than Duterte filed his statement of withdrawal before the Commission on Elections on Tuesday, December 14.
The President has filed his withdrawal from the Senatorial elections. pic.twitter.com/f8TJekehqQ— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) December 14, 2021
Duterte’s move came just hours after his longtime aide and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go formally withdrew from the presidential race. Go’s decision left the administration without a standard-bearer for the coming elections.
Withdrawn. pic.twitter.com/Ovh01uMvyu— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) December 14, 2021
The President last month filed his COC for senator via last-minute substitution under the party Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), avoiding a face-off with his daughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.
With this development, Duterte appears to have changed his mind as Malacañang said the chief executive will now push through with his initial plan of retiring from politics after his term.
“After over four decades in public service, the President plans to retire from government to spend more time with his family when his term ends in June 2022,” said Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in a statement.
Duterte quitting from the senatorial race would also allow him to “better focus” on the COVID-19 pandemic response and ensure “transparent, impartial, orderly, and peaceful” elections, added Nograles.
The 76-year-old Duterte is barred from seeking reelection as the Constitution sets a one-term limit for any president.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office