After being in politics for more than four decades, President Rodrigo Duterte is looking forward to spending more time with his family when his term ends next year following his withdrawal from the senatorial race.
“As a retired government worker, he will return to his private life and spend time with his family,” acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said.
But between now and noon of June 30, 2022, Nograles said Duterte will focus on the government’s COVID response and efforts to achieve economic recovery amid the pandemic.
“He can focus more on safely reopening our economy, he can focus more on continuing, if not stepping up more of the public service. All the changes, all the good programs he started, he will make sure these are all put in place and implemented toward the end of his term as president,” he added.
The 76-year-old Duterte previously said he will retire from politics next year, which was met with deep skepticism among analysts.
He made a similar pronouncement in September 2015 when he said he “will retire from public life for good,” only to announce a presidential bid two months later.
A faction of the PDP-Laban earlier pushed for him to run for vice president, but he eventually filed a certificate of candidacy for the presidential race under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan.
Duterte withdrew his COC Tuesday, hours after his long-time aide Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go formalized his decision to opt out of the presidential race.
For his part, presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said with Go out of the picture, this signals the consolidation of administration forces behind the Uniteam where presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carprio, is his running mate.
“Sen. Bong Go clearly acted his part in strengthening those of us aligned with the Duterte Administration. His withdrawal only mirrored his worth as a true public servant, one who is willing to sacrifice his personal aspirations to serve a common purpose and a higher cause: a unified nation crucial to the national interest,” said Marcos.
“If given the chance, the BBM-Sara UniTeam shall continue President Duterte’s legacy programs and, guided by his wisdom, even enhance some of them when necessary. Rest assured, Mr. President, your sacrifices for this country will not come to naught,” Marcos said.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, for his part, urged the public to respect Duterte’s decision to back out from the Senate race.
“It’s surprising simply because the President already made known his intention to run for senator. But again, I respect his decision or anybody for that matter who will withdraw kasi choices rin naman nila ‘yan,” Moreno said in an interview in Iloilo City.
“Again, life must go on. We must continue to work hand in hand with the President because he will be President up to June 30. There are policies and programs that we can work with, especially the National Vaccination Program, which was delayed due to the typhoon. But be that as it may, we will continue to support the President,” Domagoso said.
When asked by the media if he is still optimistic that Duterte will support him in his presidential bid, Domagoso said he is still hopeful that the chief executive will vote for him on May 9, 2022.
“I hope he can vote for me because he is still a voter, that’s also one vote. I hope he can vote for my candidates as well. As a candidate you would always wish and hope that people would vote for you. Each and every vote matters,” he added.