Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, now 76, said on Saturday he would retire rather than run for vice president next year. Barred by the Philippine Constitution from seeking a second term after his six years in office, previously Duterte said he would campaign for vice president in the upcoming election in May. A June opinion poll showed 60% of 1,200 Filipino adults surveyed believed his vice presidential run could violate the intention of the Constitution. „Today, I announce my retirement from politics,” he announced. Since coming to power in 2016, Duterte has presided over a brutal “war on drugs” that has left thousands dead, at least 6,600 people including children. Independent monitors believe the number could be much higher than that.
Duterte’s announcement appeared to leave the race for president wide open, presenting a possible opportunity for Duterte’s popular daughter to run. She is mayor of Davao City and belongs to a different party. Boxing star Manny Pacquiao has also announced he is running for the presidency next year. Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday approved a formal investigation into possible crimes against humanity allegedly committed under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Prosecutors sustain that “the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign cannot be seen as a legitimate law enforcement operation,” but rather amounted to a systematic attack on civilians. In a July speech, Duterte lashed out at the court, saying he would continue his fight against drugs. “I have never denied (it), and the ICC can record it: Those who destroy my country – I will kill you,” he said.