President Rodrigo Duterte has withdrawn from the 2022 senatorial race to supposedly retire.

Duterte’s withdrawal was announced by James Jimenez, spokesman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The president has filed his withdrawal from the senatorial elections,” Jimenez said in a tweet.

Duterte had said that he would retire after his presidency ends in 2022 before filing his certificate of candidacy for vice president. He would later drop out from the vice presidential race to substitute for senator under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan.

Malacañang on Tuesday said Duterte would push through with his retirement plan following his withdrawal.

“The president believes that withdrawing from the senate race will allow him to better focus on managing our pandemic response in order to sustain the progress we have made in the country and in safely reopening the economy,” acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

“After over four decades in public service, the president plans to retire from government to spend more time with his family when his term ends in June 2022,” Nograles added.

Duterte’s top aide, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, formally withdrew from the presidential race earlier on Tuesday. John Ezekiel J. Hirro