President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he is "retiring from politics", following his withdrawal from the PDP-Laban nomination for vice president.
"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 (to my countrymen that I will heed their will) and today I announce my retirement from politics," Duterte said without elaborating.
In late August, Duterte said he would run for vice president, a development that was met with criticism.
But he said he has changed his mind based on "the universal sentiment of the Filipino as reflected in the different surveys and in many forums and, well, talks and meetings to discuss what I should do in my life."
"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.
The President's withdrawal from his party's nomination was not made public until Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go filed a certificate of candidacy for the vice presidency.
Duterte, who accompanied Go to the Sofitel hotel in Pasay on Saturday for the COC filing, said he wished Go, a long-time aide, "the best and good luck."
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will be content to back his preferred candidates in the sidelines.
"He will no longer aspire for the second highest post in the land, bowing to the will of the people, as reflected in the June 2021 Social Weather Stations survey which showed contrary opinion for PRRD's running for the Vice Presidency," Duterte said.
"Moreover, to ensure the legacy of his programs and projects and the continuity of his reform initiatives, the President would pro-actively campaign for his candidates and make sure that the conduct of the coming 2022 elections would be free, honest, peaceful and credible."
Roque added that Duterte will spend the remainder of his term guiding the country toward post-COVID-19 recovery.
When asked about the president's choice of successor, Roque said: "(It will) be announced in due course."