Philippine Congress Confirms Duterte Won Presidential Election

MANILA, Philippines (dpa/TNS) —
Rodrigo Duterte at a news conference on Thursday. (Reuters/Stringer)
Rodrigo Duterte at a news conference on Thursday. (Reuters/Stringer)

The Philippine Congress on Friday confirmed that Rodrigo Duterte, a tough-talking mayor from a southern city, won the presidential elections earlier in the month.

A joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate completed the tally of the votes for president and vice president in three days, confirming Duterte’s win with 39 percent of votes cast on May 9.

The 71-year-old mayor of the southern city of Davao received 16.6 million votes, or 6.6 million more than his closest rival, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, according to the official tally.

“Finally victory has been achieved,” Duterte’s spokesman Peter Lavina said. “His victory is the triumph of the people, by the people and for the people.”

“Let us celebrate this milestone of Philippine democracy by uniting and working for genuine change,” he added.

Duterte ruffled the feathers of his opponents with his fiery rhetoric on the campaign trail; for example, he threatened to kill all suspected criminals, especially those involved in illegal drug trafficking, if elected president.

He has also vowed to rid the government of corruption and bring back the death penalty by hanging in the predominantly Catholic country.

In the vice presidential race, Congresswoman Leni Robredo defeated Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator, by more than 260,000 votes, according to the official tally.

Robredo received 14.4 million votes, or 35 percent of the votes cast, according to the tally.

“It is so meaningful that the canvassing was completed on the birth anniversary of my (late) husband,” she told a radio interview.

Robredo said she wants to focus on helping millions of impoverished Filipinos during her term, adding, “This has always been my expertise as a practicing lawyer since 1999.”

The joint session of the House and Senate was scheduled to convene on Monday to approve a committee report on the tally before proclaiming Duterte and Robredo as winners.

Duterte and Robredo are scheduled to assume their office on June 30.

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