Manila | Anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte secured a huge win in the Philippine presidential elections, according to a poll monitor, 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.
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 88 per cent of the vote counted early on Tuesday morning, Duterte had an insurmountable lead of 5.84 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 told AFP as the results came in. What I can promise you is that I will do my very best not just in my waking hours but even in my sleep, he added.
Duterte had 38.6 per cent of the vote, with Roxas on 23.12 percent and Senator Grace Poe in third with 21.76 percent, according to PPCRV. Poe, the adopted daughter of movie stars, had already conceded defeat 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. She congratulated Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and pledged her support in “working to heal our land and to unite our people toward the continued development of our country”.
In the Philippines, a winner is decided simply by whomever gets the most votes.
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 communist rebels. He also boasted repeatedly about his Viagra-fuelled affairs, while promising voters his mistresses would not cost a lot because he kept them in cheap boarding houses and took them to short-stay hotels for sex. Duterte caused further disgust in international diplomatic circles with a joke that he wanted to rape a beautiful Australian missionary who was killed in a 1989 Philippine prison riot, and by calling the pope a son of a whore.