DAVAO CITY – With more than 80% of all the votes counted, Mindanao’s lone candidate and dark horse for the presidency got 38.6 percent in a historic turnout of elections on Monday, May 9.
As of 12:40 am Tuesday, presumptive President Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got 14,036,118 votes from the country’s 54.3 million voters. He was followed by rivals Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II with 8,365,853; Senator Grace Poe with 7,940,520; Vice President Jejomar Binay with 4,732,796; and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago with 1,308,221.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate described Duterte’s win as “phenomenal”.
“This changes radically the politics in the Philippines,” Zarate told Davao Today Monday.
Zarate added that Duterte’s win is a “game-changer” in terms of how the elections are conducted in the country.
“How did it happen? Why (did) the traditional trajectory of politics didn’t make it,” he said.
The tough talking mayor has projected himself as the reluctant presidential candidate who joined the fray in December last year.
Senator Poe has conceded to Duterte late Monday night. She said she respects the results of the elections.
“Ito ay pagkilala sa mga pinili ng ating kababayan (This is recognizing the choice of our fellowmen),” she said.
Bayan Muna’s Zarate compared Duterte’s win to former President Corazon Aquino’s win after the Martial Law.
Zarate said Cory’s win was the people’s response against the horrors of Martial Law.
“What happened now was also a response of the people against the excesses of the Aquino administration,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Mae Fe Templa of Inpeace Mindanao said Duterte’s win is “historic and phenomenal”.
“The protest vote is collectively expressed. This is historic and phenomenal. People are tired of the promises of Tuwid na Daan (straight path),” she said.
She said the voters: “mean business in establishing a new order.”
Filipino artist Joy Barrios said Duterte has a message that “resonated among the people”.
She said the people’s vote means they are “giving them his trust”.
Zarate, who is a member of the Makabayan Coalition, which supported the candidacy of Poe said Duterte’s winning is also “something to ponder on” for the Left.
“Although we know that the election is not the solution for the country’s problems, we need to learn why this is the way the masses responded,” he said.
Challenges to a Duterte presidency
Zarate said Duterte’s win carries a “high expectation” among the people.
“The high expectation of our people just like the high expectation of our people when (former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.) was ousted. The same problems are there, like the problem on the landlessness of farmers,” he said.
Zarate said the Duterte presidency should address the basic problems of the nation.
“Crime is just a symptom of what ails the country,” he said.
Zarate said a key to addressing the root causes of the problem “is to jump start the stalled peace process between the National Democratic Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.”
He said the current government has “highjacked” the peace talks with the Moro revolutionary groups by demanding for their capitulation without addressing the cause of rebellion in the entire country.
Meanwhile, Templa said she hopes Duterte would sustain solidarity with the basic sectors.
“I hope he will advance the interest of the Filipino people over the foreign monopoly capitalists. Fair deal in every transactions of the administration,” she said.
Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora said on his Twitter account: “I look forward to President-elect Duterte bringing genuine basic and higher education to the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) and the IPs (indigenous peoples) of Mindanao!”
‘Let healing begin’
Duterte during a press conference on Monday afternoon said he is offering reconciliation with his rivals.
“I’d like to reach my hand to my opponents, let us begin the healing now,” he said.
“Let us be friends, forget about the travails of the elections,” Duterte said.
Duterte also reiterated his hard stance against the criminals.
“We are responsible for the security of the nation. We are responsible for the integrity of this republic,” he said.
He said “a government that does nothing to solve the problems of drug and criminality… is a waste.”
Duterte also said that he expects to clean the government of the corrupt officials.
Meanwhile, Duterte refused to comment on his imminent win citing “delicadeza.”
“(It’s) just to be not to be on the safe side, but too early gives you the creeps,” he said. (With a report from May Anne Love Deseo/davaotoday.com)