Rodrigo Duterte. Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Rodrigo Duterte was surprised when he announced Saturday that the Philippines' president had reversed his decision to run for vice president next year.
Duterte's authoritarian style of governing was well-known. This was perhaps best illustrated by his violent war against drugs. His critics believed that his pursuit for the vice presidency was a front to bypass the Filipino constitution. He was therefore unable to run for reelection. If his successor leaves office, Duterte could still be re-elected to the presidency as second-in command.
He now acknowledges that the "overwhelming feeling" in the Philippines is that he's not the right person to do the job. How did he get to that level of self-awareness?
The Wall Street Journal points out that Skeptics will first point out that Duterte has been a liar before. Richard Heydarian is an associate professor at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, who focuses on geopolitics. He believes Duterte has a better chance of maintaining influence over the country’s politics if Duterte steps out of his formal role to play kingmaker. Others believe he is preparing the way for Sara Duterte Carpio to surprise the world by running for the presidency. Duterte-Carpio is the third-largest Philippine city mayor. She has not stated that she was seeking the position and has filed for re-election. However, she has consistently topped opinion prospective polls so she would likely be a frontrunner.
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