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Philippine leader Duterte announces retirement from politics

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In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he meets members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging I...

In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he meets members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging I... (AP photo)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he is backing out of an announced plan to run for vice president in next year’s elections and will retire from politics after his term ends.

Duterte announced the surprise decision Saturday after accompanying his former longtime aide, Sen. Bong Go, who instead filed his own candidacy for the vice presidency at a Commission on Elections center.

Philippine presidents are limited by the constitution to a single six-year term and opponents had said they would question the legality of Duterte’s announced vice presidential run before the Supreme Court.

Duterte took office in 2016 and launched a crackdown on illegal drugs that left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead and alarmed Western governments and human rights groups. The International Criminal Court is investigating the killings.