Philippine leader quits from Senate race in latest flip-flop
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday withdrew his senatorial candidacy in next year’s elections in his…
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday withdrew his senatorial candidacy in next year’s elections in his latest change of mind over what he plans to do after his turbulent term ends, when critics say he would likely confront an range of lawsuits for an anti-drugs crackdown that has left thousands of mostly petty suspects killed.
Accompanied by his executive secretary and security escorts, the 76-year-old Duterte went to the Commission on Elections in Manila and withdrew as a senatorial candidate. His former aide, Sen. Bong Go, separately appeared at the elections commission earlier Tuesday to withdraw his presidential candidacy, which he said his family opposed.
Duterte did not give any reason for the move but his spokesman, Karlo Nograles, said it would allow the president to better focus on managing the pandemic in the country and ensuring that the May elections would be peaceful and orderly.
Known for his additional tough approach to criminality, Duterte launched a police-enforced campaign against illegal drugs when he took office in June 2016. The crackdown has left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead based on police figures.
Manila-based analyst Richard Heydarian, however, said Duterte’s latest move showed how the president, who faces possible criminal suits after his presidency for his deadly anti-drugs campaign, seemed to have lost his political footing after his plan to ensure a friendly series next year caved in.
“Duterte is really scrambling for any kind of leverage in next year’s elections,” Heydarian said. “His initial plan to engineer a series for one of his anointed successors is now totally out of the Click: See details