54TH CABINET MEETING. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 54th Cabinet meeting at the Malacañan Palace on Monday night (May 30, 2022). Malacañang on Tuesday (May 31) said Duterte is already looking forward to his retirement. (Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

MANILA – With only a month left before he vacates Malacañan Palace in Manila, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is already looking forward to his retirement, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Duterte, during the "last and full" Cabinet meeting at Malacañan Palace's Aguinaldo State Dining Room on Monday, was "happy" that all the department heads under his watch have done their part in improving the government services, acting presidential spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

Hence, Duterte, 77, is now ready to retire from politics and spend his time as a private citizen with his family and loved ones, Andanar said.

"The President was upbeat last night. He expressed gratitude to past and present Cabinet officials for helping him run the country. And he looks forward to his retirement in Davao City and spending more time with his family and his grandchildren," he said in an online Palace press briefing.

Duterte, who is set to leave the presidency on June 30, is being considered as the drug czar of the next administration.

However, Duterte turned down the offer to lead the anti-narcotics campaign of his successor, president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., former spokesperson and chief legal adviser Salvador Panelo said on Monday.

Duterte, as quoted by Panelo, said: "It is not my time."

Work continues

Despite this, Andanar said Duterte "still has a country to run until June 30."

Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag ensured that Duterte and the outgoing department secretaries would continue working until their last days in office.

"It's the last Cabinet meeting of the Duterte administration, 'yung (the) full Cabinet meeting. But it doesn't mean that we will stop working after that," Matibag, who joined Andanar at the virtual presser, said.

Matibag said Duterte may still preside over a Cabinet meeting in the last 30 days, if need be.

This, as he noted that the heads of departments and offices, during the Cabinet meeting, have expressed intent to endorse to the incoming administration the continuation of the Duterte government's programs, policies, and projects.

"Meron naman kasing mga transition team na (There are transition teams that are) internal for each department. So 'yung mga endorsement diyan (So, the endorsement) is through individual department," Matibag said.

'Graduating with honors'

While Duterte is "satisfied and happy" with the performance of his Cabinet, he reminded them to use their remaining days in office working for the betterment of the country, Matibag said.

"Ang bilin niya lang talaga, wala naman siyang binilin na importante but kagaya ng commitment ni Presidente, until the last day of work, trabaho pa rin (His reminder remains the same with his commitment, that is to continue working until the last day of work)," he said.

Matibag, nevertheless, believed that Duterte's Cabinet will step down "with honors," considering their accomplishments.

"All of us are happy na naging parte tayo ng journey ng ating Pangulong Duterte at nakapag-contribute lahat ng maganda. Marami sa (that we have been part of President Duterte's journey and we have been able to contribute. Many of the) Cabinet secretaries will graduate with honors at marami talagang nagawa (because they have done their part)," he said. (PNA)