Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Rodrigo Duterte officially wins Philippines presidency

Controversial mayor, known as The Punisher, gets over 16 million votes after campaign pledge to kill criminals.

An official vote count by the Philippine Congress has determined that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected president in elections held on May 9.

The congressional vote count, which ended late on Friday, determined that Duterte, the crime-busting mayor of the southern city of Davao, received more than 16.6 million votes.

Duterte edged out his closest rival former senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas, who was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino, by over six million votes. 

Duterte will assume the presidency on June 30, when Aquino's six-year term ends. The constitution bars a president from running for two consecutive terms.

During his campaign, Duterte - also know as The Punisher - vowed to kill suspected drug dealers and other criminals if elected president.

Congress member Leni Robredo, who is from an opposing party, triumphed as vice president, winning more than 14.4 million votes.

The president and vice president are elected separately in the Philippines. There is no second round of voting in the country, and with multiple candidates running, winners are chosen by plurality of voting.

Robredo  narrowly beat Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ousted in a 1986 "people power" revolt, with a margin of just over 263,000 votes.

In a statement, Robredo's campaign manager Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV praised the incoming vice president as "true servant of the nation". Senator Aquino is a cousin of the president. 

Robredo, 52, was thrust into politics after the 2012 plane crash death of her husband, the interior minister of President Aquino.

Crisitina Pastor, editor of the New York-based Filipino American magazine The FilAm, said "makes Duterte, a bitter-pill president, easier to swallow".

It was not immediately clear whether Robredo's victory will be contested by Marcos, who has made accusations about possible election irregularities.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, head of the vote canvassing body, said Congress will officially proclaim Duterte and Robredo as winners on Monday.

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