Bangkok, Oct 2 (EFE).- Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Saturday announced a sudden decision to retire from politics, terminating his decision to run for the vice presidency in the 2022 elections.
Duterte, 76, said he decided not to run in the polls following the “overwhelming sentiment of the Filipinos…that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law.”
He announced the decision after accompanying Senator Bong Go, one of his closest aides, to the Election Commission to formalize his candidacy for the vice presidency.
“The universal sentiment of the Filipino has been reflected in the different surveys and in many forums and, well, caucuses and meetings to discuss what I should do in my life,” he said.
“In obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, (…) I announce my retirement from politics.”
Duterte had publicly accepted in early September the proposal of his PDP-Laban party to run for the vice presidency in the May elections next year.
Constitutionally he is barred from seeking a second term as the president.
Duterte had swept to power in 2016 after he promised his voters to fight a decisive war on drugs.
However, his controversial anti-drugs military campaign has sparked grave human rights violation allegations.
The campaign is now at the center of a probe by the International Criminal Court over alleged crimes against humanity.
The court in The Hague ordered the investigation on Sep.15.
The war on drugs has caused thousands of deaths in police raids against alleged traffickers and drug addicts.
The election commission began registering the candidates for the next elections on Friday.
People will vote to elect a new president for a single six-year term and a vice president, a ceremonial post.
Former Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao was among the first to register for presidential elections.
Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso and former police chief Panfilo Lacson are likely to run too.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the president, was widely speculated to run for the post.
However, she has not made public her intentions to contest.
She previously rejected the possibility to contest the election with her father as her running mate.
According to the Asia-Pulse agency polls, Duterte-Carpio could be a favorite if she decided to run for the job. EFE