Duterte withdraws from 2022 Senate race

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14)— President Rodrigo Duterte has dropped out of the 2022 senatorial elections.

Duterte filed his certificate of withdrawal before the Commission on Elections on Tuesday afternoon — just hours after his ally and longtime aide Senator Bong Go officially withdrew from the presidential race.

Last month, the chief executive backtracked on his initial plan to retire from politics and filed his candidacy to rejoin Congress under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS).

PDDS is an allied party of the PDP-Laban faction which he is a part of.

With this development, Malacañang said Duterte's retirement goal will push through next year.

"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," acting spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

Duterte's withdrawal from the Senate race would also allow him to focus on COVID-19 response efforts, Nograles added.

"He likewise views this as an opportunity to concentrate on efforts to ensure transparent, impartial, orderly and peaceful elections in May," the Cabinet secretary also said.

'Personal decision'

The President's loved ones and allies said they support his decision.

"The filing of candidacy and withdrawal is a personal decision. We can only support that decision," his daughter, vice presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Go, for his part, admitted he was saddened by the turn of events, but also urged the public to respect the President's choice. He said Duterte will also focus on ensuring a smooth transition for the country's next leaders.

Go and Duterte were earlier nominated by the ruling PDP-Laban party as standard bearers for the upcoming elections.