Viet Nam News
MANILA — Anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte stormed to a huge win in the Philippine presidential elections, according to poll monitor data released Tuesday, after an incendiary campaign dominated by his profanity-laced vows to kill criminals.
Duterte, the longtime mayor of the southern city of Davao, hypnotised millions with his vows of brutal but quick solutions to the nation’s twin plagues of crime and poverty, which many believed had worsened despite strong economic growth in recent years.
And after a record turnout of voters in Monday’s elections, Duterte scored a commanding victory, according to data released by the PPCRV, a Catholic Church-run poll monitor accredited by the government to tally the votes.
With 89 per cent of the vote counted early on Tuesday morning, Duterte had an insurmountable lead of 5.92 million votes over his nearest rival, administration candidate Mar Roxas, according to the data.
"It’s with humility, extreme humility, that I accept this, the mandate of the people," Duterte said as the results came in, adding his law and order platform was the key to his success.
"What I can promise you is that I will do my very best not just in my waking hours but even in my sleep."
Duterte had 38.65 per cent of the vote, with Roxas on 23.16 per cent and Senator Grace Poe in third with 21.71 per cent, according to PPCRV.
In the Philippines, a winner is decided simply by whomever gets the most votes.
Poe, the adopted daughter of movie stars, had already conceded just after midnight on Tuesday.
"As a staunch supporter of electoral reform, I have a firm belief in the voice and sentiment of our people. I honour the result of our elections," Poe told reporters in Manila.
"I congratulate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and pledge my support in working to heal our land and to unite our people toward the continued development of our country."
Threats to kill
Duterte, a pugnacious 71-year-old, surged from outsider to the top of surveys with cuss-filled vows to kill tens of thousands of criminals, threats to establish one-man rule if lawmakers disobeyed him and promises to embrace leftist rebels.
In his final rally on Saturday, Duterte repeated to tens of thousands of cheering fans his plans to end crime within six months of starting his presidency.
"Forget the laws on human rights," said Duterte, who has been accused of running vigilante death squads in Davao.
"If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because as the mayor, I’d kill you."
Another key message of Duterte’s campaign was his pledge to take on the elite, even though his vice presidential running mate was from one of the nation’s richest and most powerful families.
Poe had seen her popularity slide after critics pointed to her taking US citizenship then later giving it up.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, the early favourite, was in a distant fourth place, according to the poll monitor, after crumbling under the weight of a barrage of corruption allegations.
In an intriguing sub-plot, former dictator Marcos’s son and namesake was in an extremely tight race for the vice presidency. After leading early, he fell just a few hundred votes behind with 10 percent of the vote to be counted on Tuesday morning, according to the poll monitor. — AFP