MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said on Saturday that he would retire rather than pursue the vice presidency next year, in a surprise reversal of a plan meant to keep him in national politics after his presidential term ends.
The Philippine Constitution limits presidents to a single, six-year term. But Mr. Duterte had announced that he would run for vice president in the May election, and his former chief aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, had been expected to seek the presidency.
On Saturday, however, Mr. Go submitted papers declaring that he, not Mr. Duterte, would run for vice president. Mr. Duterte raised Mr. Go’s hand afterward in a show of unity.
Referring to opinion polls that indicated public opposition to his plan, Mr. Duterte said that “in obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say to my countrymen that I will follow your wishes,” he said.
“Today, I announce my retirement. I thank you all,” he said. He gave no indication that he planned to step down before the end of his term next June.
Mr. Duterte’s announcement appeared to leave the field open for his popular daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who had earlier said that she would only run for president if her father dropped out of the race. The Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao has also announced his candidacy for the presidency.