By G9ija

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday filed to contest the Senate elections next year, seeking a way to stay in politics while facing an international probe into his deadly drug war.

Duterte, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second six-year term, filed his candidacy at the Commission on Elections office, minutes before a deadline to join the race.

A lawyer submitted the paperwork on behalf of the president, according to documents seen by AFP, quelling speculation he would run for vice president — the same post his daughter, Sara, is contesting.

Duterte, 76, had previously said he would run for vice president, before changing his mind and announcing plans to retire from politics.

But presidential communications chief Martin Andanar told local media on Saturday that Duterte had flagged plans to run for the country’s second-highest office after all, and would file his candidacy on Monday.

There were questions over whether Sara Duterte would make a late switch into the presidential race after hundreds of her fans gathered outside the Commission on Elections office on Monday.

Sara had been widely expected to seek the presidency in a bid to succeed her father, and potentially protect him from criminal charges in the Philippines and ICC investigators.

But on Saturday she filed for the vice presidential race and that appeared unchanged by Monday’s 5:00 pm (0900 GMT) deadline.

-AFP