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Duterte says he is retiring from politics

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"Today, I announce my retirement from politics"

A shock announcement, as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday he was calling time on his career in politics

The move fuelled speculation he was clearing the way for his daughter to run to succeed him, despite her filing for re-election as mayor.

Duterte was joined on stage by loyalist Senator Christopher "Bong" Go from the ruling PDP-Laban party as he registered to run for vice president in next year's election.

Duterte had been expected to run for the No. 2 job -- a plan which most Filipinos see as violating the spirit of the constitution, which sets a one-term limit for the president.

Political analysts say it's crucial for Duterte to have a loyal successor to insulate him from potential legal action over the thousands of state killings in his war on drugs since 2016.

The 76-year-old remains popular even as his opponents accuse him of being authoritarian and intolerant of dissent.

More than 60 million Filipinos will vote in May for a new president, vice president and more than 18,000 lawmakers and local government officials.

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