His plan to pursue the largely ceremonial post was criticized by rivals and many Filipinos as an attempt to maintain his political power and avoid potential legal action at home or abroad.
But on Saturday, Duterte accompanied his longtime aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, as he submitted papers to register for the vice presidential ticket in Pasay City.
“The universal sentiment of the Filipino has been reflected in the different surveys and in many forums, caucuses, and meetings to discuss what should I do in my life,” Duterte said, referring to opinion polls that suggested the public opposed his plan, according to PNA.
A June opinion poll showed 60% of 1,200 Filipino adults surveyed believed his vice presidential run could violate the intention of the Constitution, PNA reported.
“The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution,” Duterte said.
“And so, in obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say, sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo (my countrymen, I will heed your advice). And today, I announce my retirement from politics,” he added.
On Saturday, Duterte wished Go “all the best and good luck in his quest for the vice presidency” after having initially accepted the nomination to ensure the “continuity” of his programs, according to PNA.
Duterte’s announcement appeared to leave the race for president wide open, presenting a possible opportunity for Duterte’s popular daughter to run.
Boxing star Manny Pacquiao has also announced he is running for the presidency in next year’s election, vowing to go after corrupted officials.