Philippine President Duterte withdraws candidacy from Senate race

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 14, 2021, 11:05 PM(IST)

This handout photo taken on December 14, 2021 and released by the Office of the President-Events Management Cluster shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) displaying a document of his withdrawal as candidate for the senate in the May 2022 elections Photograph:( AFP )

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte cannot seek re-election due to constitutional provisions. His attempt to secure a Senate seat was viewed as a way to keep himself in active politics

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday withdrew his bid for a seat in the country's Senate. The elections are due in 2022. This has come month after he made last-minute entry in the race.

As per the constitution, Duterte (76) is barred from seeking re-election. His decision to file papers for a seat in Senate was seen as his way of maintaining his position in active politics. He faces an international probe into his deadly drug war.

"The President has filed his withdrawal from the Senatorial elections," James Jimenez, spokesman for the Commission on Elections office, said on Twitter.

Duterte decided to withdraw from the May elections to "better focus" on the government's pandemic response and ensure "orderly and peaceful elections", his spokesman Karlo Nograles said.

"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," Nograles added, without specifying if Duterte was quitting politics altogether.

The elections will see thousands of candidates contest more than 18,000 posts from president to town councillor. 

Duterte said previously he would run for the country's second-highest office, before changing his mind and announcing plans to retire from politics -- which was met with deep scepticism among analysts.

His latest withdrawal does not necessarily mean he will exit politics. Under election rules, he has until midday on election day to substitute in for another candidate sharing his surname if they are disqualified or die. 

Duterte's daughter Sara is running for vice president while his son Sebastian is contesting the mayoral race in the family's southern stronghold of Davao City.

(With inputs from agencies)

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