Hardliner Duterte Wins Philippines Presidency

Hardliner Duterte Wins Philippines PresidencyHardliner Duterte Wins Philippines Presidency

Maverick anti-crime candidate Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has won the Philippine presidential elections, following the withdrawal of his opponents.

Although the official result has not yet been declared, main rival Mar Roxas admitted defeat after polls gave Duterte an unassailable lead.

Duterte said he accepted the mandate with “extreme humility”. The 71-year-old stirred controversy during campaigning with his incendiary comments. He has credited his success to his tough stance on law and order, BBC reported.

His record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao, once notorious for its lawlessness, earned him the moniker The Punisher and resonated with voters.

Other driving issues of the election campaign were pervasive corruption, as well as the poverty and inequality experienced by many Filipinos despite economic growth under outgoing President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

Election officials have said there was a record turnout at polling stations, with more than 81% of the 54 million registered voters casting a ballot. Senators and about 18,000 local officials, including mayors, are also being elected.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting poll monitor said that with 90% of the presidential ballots counted, Duterte had more than 14.8 million votes—about 39%. The PPCRV is accredited by the election commission to monitor counting but its reporting does not represent an official tally.

As the extent of his lead became clear, Duterte told AFP: “It’s with humility, extreme humility, that I accept this, the mandate of the people.”

Mar Roxas, the interior minister, accepted his rival’s win.

“There are many tears in the room. Let me tell you this is not a time for tears. For our country, we have had a peaceful, successful transfer of power,” he said.

Another key rival, Senator Grace Poe, earlier conceded defeat, promising to “cooperate with the healing process” after a turbulent campaign.

Aquino is standing down as the constitution limits presidents to one six-year term. As Duterte rose in opinion polls ahead of voting, Aquino had tried to unite other candidates against him, warning his election could mean a return to dictatorship for the Philippines.

Duterte has made many controversial statements during his campaign, saying that he would massacre criminals and drug-users, joking about the rape of an Australian missionary and saying he would dissolve congress if it did not agree with him.

He has also given forthright opinions on the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, saying he would sail to disputed islands and plant the Philippine flag there.

The Philippines has taken one of its claims to a court of arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands. On Monday, he said he would seek multilateral talks over the issue to include the US and Japan.