The controversial Filipino politician, known as ‘Dirty Harry’ and dubbed as Asia’s Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte wins presidency with wide lead from his strong opponents.
Duterte’s win was right on the spot. From the very start of counting, it was clear that the highly criticized public figure, whom Morning News USA has also compared to Vladimir Putin, is already the winner.
“Our people have spoken and their verdict is accepted and respected,” outgoing President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesman Sonny Coloma was quoted as saying by NBC.
“It’s with humility, extreme humility, that I accept this, the mandate of the people,” Duterte said as quoted by Agence France Presse via USA Today.
“What I can promise you is that I will do my very best not just in my waking hours but even in my sleep,” the new president of the island nation added.
With Duterte’s win come presumptions and apprehensions about his presidency. Matters like South China Sea dispute, US relations and dictatorship pressing strongly.
Speaking of possible scenarios, the new president hinted willingness to cooperate with China in the disputed South China Sea.
According to Duterte, China should honor the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone given to coastal estates in relation to the international law.
“I would say to China, ‘do not claim anything here and I will not insist also that it is ours’,” The Star quoted Duterte as he talked to reporters during the canvassing of votes.
“If you want joint ventures, fine, we can get the gas and the oil,” he said. “I believe in sharing.”
He also added just on Monday that claimant countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and China should talk.
Other world powers like Japan, Australia and the United States should also be included.
“They would want a multilateral roundtable discussion, probably this year,” he said of Western countries.
“I do not think anyone is interested in going to war. Although we are allies with America, we will agree to, say, multilateral participation.”
In another report from Reuters, Duterte was quoted saying that he wanted to make peace with his rivals but when he assumes position he would approve the use of deadly force against criminals.
“If they put up a good fight and refuse to surrender and if you feel your life is in jeopardy, shoot. You have my authority,” he said.
Some analysts previously claimed that Duterte’s rise from power came from the long drawn out frustration of the ailing Filipinos.
He was the “ugly” side of politics, refusing to engage in the same political machinery and tactics of promises and flowery words that traditional politicians have been using for the last several decades – to which, it appears, most Filipinos have gone tired of.
The Philippines held its election on May 9. As of 9pm local time that same day, Duterte was already leading by approximately 6 million votes.
That very night, his strong rival, Senator Grace Poe called Duterte and already congratulated him. She eventually conceded.
Poe dropped the race after 11pm Philippine time after around 76% of the votes were casted. She garnered 22% of the vote or around 7 million votes.
“[I am Grace Poe, and I am giving way to Rodrigo Duterte, whom majority of our countrymen have chosen] ” Poe said in a press conference shortly before midnight, as quoted by Rappler.
The next day, on May 10, at 2pm local time, another strong rival, Mar Roxas, conceded. At this time, Duterte already had 38.7 percent of the total votes or 15, 342, 569 votes according to official data. Around this time 93.58 percent of the nationwide votes were already in.
Roxas, who was second around this time, had a total vote of 9, 249, 813 or 23.3 percent of the votes.