President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew his candidacy for the 2022 senatorial race on Tuesday, December 14.
“The president has filed his withdrawal from the senatorial elections,” said James Jimenez, spokesman for the Commission on Elections office, on Twitter.
The president personally filed his statement of withdrawal with the poll body, hours after his longtime aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, officially backed out of the presidential race.
Duterte’s allies earlier floated the idea of him running for vice president in May, partly to protect himself from legal accountability once he leaves office in 2022.
In October, the president said he would not run for vice president and would retire from politics.
“The overwhelming… sentiment of the Filipinos is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the constitution” to run for the vice presidency, he said.
The authoritarian firebrand declared in August he would contest the country’s second-highest office in the May election — a move critics said was a smokescreen and motivated by fear that he could face criminal charges after leaving office.