Duterte announces retirement from politics: ‘I made the right decision’

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Palace on October 4, 2021. SIMEON CELI/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte was firm that he made the “right decision” to retire from politics after his term ends next year.

He made the remark after the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that his satisfaction rating dropped from the +79 he got in November 2020 to a +62 in June 2021.

“Thank you for the figures. It’s still good but I think it’s time. There’s always a time for everything,” Duterte said during his pre-taped public address on Monday, October 4.

“Even if you get a 64 rating, may panahon-panahon ang buhay. So sa palagay ko, tama yung ginawa ko (There’s a time for everything in life. So in my opinion, I did the right thing),” he added.

In September, the SWS released its latest satisfaction ratings of Duterte based on the three batches of surveys it conducted.

For the June 2021 survey, 13% of Filipino respondents said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with Duterte’s performance as president, while 12% were undecided.

In turn, he received a net satisfaction rating of +62, which is the rounded-off difference between respondents who said that they are satisfied and dissatisfied with the president’s performance.

Retirement

On Saturday, Oct. 2, Duterte announced his retirement, citing the public sentiment as his reason for withdrawing his vice presidential bid.

“The universal sentiment of the Filipino has been reflected in the different surveys and in many forums, caucuses, and meetings to discuss what should I do in my life,” he said after accompanying Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice president.

“The overwhelming sentiment of the Filipino is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the Constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the Constitution,” he added.

Duterte was referring to a separate SWS survey, which showed that 60% of 1,200 adult Filipinos agreed that his vice-presidential candidacy “violates the intention of the Constitution, which should first be amended before he may run for office again.”

“And so, in obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say, sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo (my countrymen, I will heed your advice). And today, I announce my retirement from politics,” he said.

Duterte also expressed hope that the new set of leaders would continue what he started.

“It is time to give way to a new set of leaders who hopefully continue the reforms, projects, and programs that this administration has pursued for the past few years,” he said Monday.

“It is my hope that the new set of leaders will pursue a platform of government that will build on our gains in the areas of fighting illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, terrorism, and insurgency,” he added.

Further, Duterte hoped that the new leaders would continue what his administration began “in terms of infrastructure development” as well as the “many other initiatives” that he undertook during his term.

ICC defense

After retiring, Duterte said he will prepare his defense for the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into his anti-narcotics crackdown.

“Tanggap ko ang husga ng taongbayan. Simple lang, ayaw nila ako maglaro pa ng politika. Gusto nila umuwi na ako sa Davao at maghintay ako sa maraming dada ng dada diyan (I accept the judgment of the people. It’s simple, they don’t want me to play politics. They want me to return to Davao and wait for those who keep yapping about the case),” he said.

“I will prepare for my defense na yung ICC na ‘yan (that ICC thing),” he added.

Duterte also warned the ICC against fabricating evidence.

“Huwag lang kayong magsinungaling. Kung totoo lang tutal may record naman. Huwag kayong mag-imbento na ‘yung namatay ng malaria diyan pati icha-charge ninyo sa akin. Kalokohan na ‘yan (Just don’t lie. If it’s true, there should be a record. Do not fabricate evidence and charge me over people who died of malaria. That’s nonsense),” he said.

Nonetheless, Duterte maintained that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate his drug war.

“Pilipino ako, hindi ako international body. May sarili kaming judicial system dito. Huwag kayo makialam (I’m a Filipino, not an international body. We have our own judicial system here. Do not interfere),” he said.

“Atsaka sinabi ko (And like I’ve said), you never acquired jurisdiction over my person,” he added.

In September, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber found a “reasonable basis” to proceed with a full investigation into Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs.

However, the Duterte administration insisted that only local authorities can investigate crimes that happened in the Philippines.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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