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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte goes from VP to ‘retirement’ to VP to senator

Hemming and hawing about what to do when his term ends in June 2022, President Rodrigo Duterte finally decided to file his candidacy for the Senate, the chamber he had been lambasting for months. He had been vacillating over two other choices — retirement or the vice presidency.

Watch this video:

Duterte chairs the fractious ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Last Sept. 23, the party forged an alliance with Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) for the 2022 elections.

The ruling pro-Duterte faction of the PDP-Laban originally wanted the president to run as the vice-presidential (VP) running mate of his longtime aide-turned-senator Christopher “Bong” Go. Duterte, in fact, accepted the nomination on Sept. 22, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, president of the party’s pro-Duterte faction.

The other faction is headed by Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, also running for president in 2022 under the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (Promdi), and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr.

Despite Duterte’s announcement of his retirement on Oct. 2, Cusi announced on Oct. 27 that his faction is urging the president to consider running for senator instead. Both Duterte and Go, who are top-ranking officials in PDP-Laban, are running under a different party, the PDDS, for senator and president, respectively.

This is not the first time Duterte pulled a surprise substitution. He flip-flopped on his candidacy in the 2016 presidential elections, initially turning down calls for him to run for president and eventually ended up substituting for Martin Dino, a former barangay chairman who turned out to be a placeholder of PDP-Laban for the then-mayor of Davao City.

Duterte has either offered or threatened to resign as president at least 22 times, as of the last count in July 2019, for various reasons, including being tired and in reaction to accusations of corruption and incompetence. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Duterte’s thoughts of resignation)


Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the video fact-check.


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Presidential Communications Operations Office official Facebook page, PRRD’s Attendance to the Filing of Certificate of Candidacy of Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go (Speech), Oct. 2, 2021

CNN Philippines reporter Melissa Lopez official Twitter account, LOOK: President Rodrigo Duterte’s COC as senatorial bet of PDDS , Nov. 15, 2021

Business World reporter, Samuel Medenilla, Comelec releases a copy of the COC of pres. Rodrigo Duterte. , Nov. 15, 2021, official Twitter account, LOOK: Lawyer Mel Arana shows the certificate of candidacy (COC) of President Rodrigo Duterte,, Nov. 15, 2021

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Presidential Communications Operations Office, On PRRD’s latest announcement, Oct. 2, 2021

Social Weather Stations, Second Quarter 2021 Social Weather Survey: 60% of adult Filipinos say it violates the intention of the Constitution if President Duterte runs as Vice-President in 2022; only 39% say he should run, Sept. 27, 2021

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CNN Philippines, Duterte signs CONA as VP bet, party mates still counting on Go, Sept. 23, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Duterte formally accepts PDP-Laban wing’s VP nomination, Sept. 23, 2021, Sara Duterte files candidacy for VP —Comelec, Nov. 13, 2021

Philippine News Agency, Sara Duterte to run as VP in May 2022 polls, Nov. 13, 2021, Sara Duterte to run for vice president under Lakas-CMD, Nov. 13, 2021

Presidential Communications Operations Office official Facebook page, PRRD’s Visit at the COMELEC Head Office City of Manila, Nov. 13, 2021

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), DU30 may run for Senate, act as campaign manager for BaGo tandem, Oct. 27, 2021


ABS-CBN News, It’s official: Duterte files COC for president, Nov. 27, 2015, Duterte files COC for president Martin Dino, Nov. 27, 2015, It’s official: Duterte files COC for president But can he run?, Nov. 27, 2015


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)