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Is change really coming?

With Duterte’s landslide win, the Philippines is set to welcome its first President from Mindanao



On May 9th, Filipinos all over the world casted their vote for the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines who will govern over 7,107 islands and look to change the course of the country in the next six years.


Landslide victory


The day after the polls closed, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Duterte already pulled away with a commanding lead. As of May 11, almost 96 percent of votes have been transmitted to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), including the tally from overseas absentee voters. As of writing, Duterte has gathered 15,911,228 votes according to the partial and unofficial tally from the Parish Pastoral Council
for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). In second place is Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas with 9,678,767 votes, while Senator Grace Poe is in third place with 8,929,294 votes. Both Roxas and Poe have conceded the Presidency to Duterte and joined Duterte’s call for unity to “let the healing begin.”


With only five percent of the total votes yet to be counted, Duterte has already surpassed incumbent President Benigno Aquino III’s record for the most number of votes in history by over 700,000 votes. Aquino received 15,208,678 votes in the 2010 presidential elections.


Before the elections, National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose wrote that Duterte’s “victory will be brought about by millions of Filipinos fed up with corruption at all levels of our society, and frustrated that the gains of the Aquino administration do not translate into their improved welfare and safety. The Duterte vote is the voice of angry Filipinos.” And with that, the call for change really did come.



Upon receiving the overwhelming results of the polls, Duterte made his way to his parents’ grave at 3 a.m. on May 10, where he openly wept. He reportedly prayed and asked for his parents to help him with his new task.


Allegations of cheating


While the Presidential race already has a clear winner, the Vice Presidential race is far from over.




During the first few hours of the counting, Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. was leading the polls, with Liberal Party’s Leni Robredo in second place. But by the next day, people awoke with Robredo capturing the lead. As of writing, the partial and unofficial count from the PPCRV shows that Robredo has 13,988,939 and Marcos in close second with 13,774,268 votes.


Surprised by the sudden upset, Marcos’ camp called for a stop of the counting to investigate the possibility of cheating.



Marcos’ campaign adviser Jonathan dela Cruz was quoted in a Rappler report saying, “While the country is sleeping, we have seen a steep degree of his lead from one million to now trailing by 500 votes…We do not know where these votes are coming from.”


By Tuesday afternoon, the Marcos camp issued an “an urgent request to the COMELEC and the PPCRV to terminate the unofficial count,” according to dela Cruz. However, COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon clarified that Marcos’ “lawyers have not filed anything.”


“I think they are just saying it in the media. There’s no petition for us to act on,” Guanzon said in a CNN Philippines report.


The Philippines under President Duterte


Already preparing for his term, Duterte decided to build a team to help ease him into the presidency.
According to his spokesperson Peter Laviña, Duterte has chosen six people to be part of the Duterte Transition Committee. These are Leoncio Jun Evasco, his campaign manager; Christopher “Bong” Go, his executive assistant; Carlos Dominguez, his campaign finance head and former Cabinet member of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos; his lawyers Salvador Medialdea and Loreto Ata; and Laviña. Senator Pia Cayetano, who is about to end her term, is also set to join the transition team “to ensure a gender-balanced government,” according to a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but her position is yet to be determined as of writing.


On Tuesday, Malacañang said they are ready and willing to help out Duterte and his team to ensure a smooth transition until Duterte’s inauguration on June 30.


Aside from forming his committee, Duterte also shared some of his plans as president. Including a nationwide liquor ban by 1 a.m., a 10 p.m. curfew for unsupervised minors, discouraging government officials from using fancy vehicles, and a nationwide ban on smoking in public. He also said he plans to visit Pope Francis to apologize personally for his untoward comments a few months back.