Philippines’ election victor Duterte plans government overhaul
DAVAO, Philippines – Reuters
A resident walks past election tarpaulins featuring Philippine presidential candidate and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte displayed on a street in Davao city, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao - AFP photoThe Philippines’ president-elect, rough-talking city mayor Rodrigo Duterte, announced plans on May 10 for an overhaul of the country’s system of government that would devolve power from “imperial Manila” to long-neglected provinces.
Duterte’s win at the May 9 poll has not been confirmed, but an unofficial count of votes by an election commission-accredited watchdog showed he had a huge lead over his two closest rivals, both of whom conceded defeat.
By May 10 afternoon, the ballot count showed Duterte had almost 39 percent of votes cast. He was more than 6 million votes ahead of the second-placed candidate with 92 percent of votes counted from an electorate of 54 million.
It is not clear when Duterte’s victory will be officially declared but he is expected to take office on June 30.
Votes were also cast on May 9 for vice-president. One day on, counting showed the outgoing administration’s candidate, Maria Leonor Robredo, ahead of the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Duterte’s spokesman, Peter Lavina, told a news conference that the new president would seek a national consensus for a revision of the constitution which would switch from a unitary form of government to a parliamentary and federal model.
The proposal to devolve power from Manila fits with Duterte’s challenge as a political outsider to the country’s establishment, which he has slammed as self-serving and corrupt.
“The powerful elites in Manila who will be affected by this system will definitely oppose this proposal,” said Earl Parreno, an analyst at the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms.
Duterte’s spokesman said he would also seek peace agreements with rebel groups in the south of the archipelago, where the outgoing government has been using force to quell militancy.