President Rodrigo Duterte Retires From Politics: What It Means for Manny Pacquiao

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Saturday that he will retire from politics in a move that could have a significant impact on the country's upcoming presidential election.

The hardline leader was widely expected to run for vice president in 2022's election. He cannot run for president a second time because the country's constitution limits the head of state to one six-year term.

His decision could open the door for his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who has previously said she would not run for president because they had agreed only one of them would run for national office next year. It will also have implications for boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who has launched his own bid for president.

Duterte accompanied his longtime ally and former aide Senator Christopher "Bong" Go of their PDP-Laban party as he registered to run for vice president on Saturday, ruling out Duterte's own run.

"The overwhelming ... sentiment of the Filipinos is that I am not qualified and it would be a violation of the constitution to circumvent the law, the spirit of the constitution," Duterte said of running for vice president.

"Today I announce my retirement from politics," he said.

Duterte-Carpio, the president's daughter, succeeded him as mayor of the city of Davao in 2016 and could now enter the race for the presidency of the Philippines.

However, if she chooses to run she will be opposed by Pacquiao, a former champion boxer, who announced on September 19 that he was running for the country's top job.

Pacquiao, who is now a senator and was previously a member of the Philippines' House of Representatives, was nominated by members of his faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party. He has criticized Duterte for not being tougher on China over the Communist country's disputed claims to the South China Sea.

"I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," Pacquiao said. "I am accepting your nomination as candidate for president of the Republic of the Philippines."

Duterte's faction of PDP-Laban previously nominated Christopher Go for president a few days before Pacquiao's announcement but he refused. Now that Go is running for vice president, Duterte's faction may look to Duterte-Carpio.

Recent polling has shown Duterte-Carpio beating Pacquiao by a significant margin, though her support had dropped from 28 percent to 20 percent in a Pulse Asia survey of 2,400 people earlier this month. Pacquiao was on 12 percent, up from eight percent but in fourth place.

Duterte has publicly discussed the possibility that becoming vice president could shield him from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which authorized an investigation into the Philippines so-called "war on drugs" on September 15. It is not clear if becoming vice president would have granted Duterte immunity from potential charges, however.

Rodrigo Duterte Delivers a Speech
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia on May 31, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Duterte announced on Saturday that he will retire from politics. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images