Duterte wins Philippine presidency in official count

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine lawmakers completed the official vote count from May 9 elections on Friday and announced that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency by an overwhelming margin, while Rep. Leni Robredo triumphed as vice president.

Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of southern Davao city, received more than 16.6 million votes, 6.6 million more than his closest rival, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who was backed by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.

About 81 percent of more than 54 million eligible voters cast ballots for a successor to Aquino and thousands of other national, congressional and local officials whose terms end on June 30, according to lawmakers and official figures released by Congress.

Duterte had led by a wide margin in an earlier unofficial count, and most of his rivals have conceded defeat. The vice presidential race, however, was closely fought.

Robredo, who was also backed by Aquino, received more than 14.4 million votes, according to the official count, just 263,000 more than Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a dictator ousted in a 1986 “people power” revolt sparked by widespread human rights abuses and corruption.

Presidents and vice presidents are elected separately in the Philippines, and often are from different parties.

It was not immediately clear if Robredo’s victory would be contested by Marcos, who has raised suggestions of election irregularities.

“It was a very divisive and difficult election,” Robredo said in a TV interview. “We need to rebuild as one country and President Duterte really needs all our help.”

Robredo, a lawyer who has helped the poor with free legal services, said she learned of her victory while she was with her daughters at a cemetery to mark the 58th birthday of her late husband, a reformist politician who perished in a 2012 plane crash.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who helped oversee the vote count, said Congress will officially proclaim Duterte and Robredo as winners on Monday.

Duterte, who has stayed mostly in Davao city since the elections, did not immediately comment. He has said he does not plan to attend his proclamation as president-elect in metropolitan Manila.

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