Popular Mayor Duterte wins Philippine presidency

The official results of the Philippines presidential election may not be known for weeks, but the unofficial figures are already giving Mayor Rodrigo Duterte a huge lead.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Rodrigo Duterte (C), a seven-term Philippine mayor, walks with his supporters during proclamation ceremony as a presidential candidate held at a hotel in Manila November 30, 2015.

Updated May 10, 2016

Filipinos woke up to the news on Tuesday that firebrand Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was set to become the country's next president .

Early on Tuesday morning, a rolling ballot count by an election commission-accredited watchdog showed Duterte had almost 39 percent of votes cast. He was more than 5 million votes ahead of his nearest rival with 90 percent of votes counted.

Grace Poe, a popular senator, won more than a fifth of the votes counted but conceded defeat to Duterte and said his lead reflected the will of the people.

Duterte's apparent victory dominated newspaper headlines while residents on the streets of Manila reacted warily, saying they hoped he would hold true to his promises of improving the lives of the people.

Duterte's incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs have alarmed many who hear echoes of the Southeast Asian country's authoritarian past.

Duterte made a succession of winding, bellicose and at times comical remarks on television as the votes were being counted, venting over corruption and bad governance and telling anecdotes from his 22 years as mayor of Davao city.

He said corrupt officials should "retire, or die" and reiterated his support for police to use of deadly force against criminals.

The election numbers reported by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) had, by 5:30am (2130 GMT Monday), accounted for about 90 percent of the 54 million registered Filipino voters.

Duterte had 14.9 million votes, with the government's candidate Manuel Roxas second with 8.9 million, followed by Poe with 8.3 million votes.

The victor of the Philippines' presidential election, tough-talking city Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, expected to give a news conference. Duterte announced plans on Tuesday for a radical overhaul of the country's unitary system of government that would empower the provinces.