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Marcos, Duterte head for landslide win

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. enters Mariano Marcos Memorial Memorial Elementary School in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, on Monday morning to cast his vote, while his running mate, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, arrives at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School to cast hers. By nightfall, both can smell victory. STORY: Marcos, Duterte head for landslide win

WALKING INTO HISTORY | Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. enters Mariano Marcos Memorial Memorial Elementary School in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, on Monday morning to cast his vote, while his running mate, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, arrives at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School to cast hers. By nightfall, both can smell victory. (See more Election Day photos on Page A7.) (JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS/BING GONZALES)

MANILA, Philippines – Former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte, took a commanding lead in the partial and unofficial tally of votes cast in Monday’s elections, the numbers reflecting their consistent dominance in the surveys.

The son and namesake of the former dictator on late Monday night told Filipinos that he could no longer contain his gratitude as he leads the unofficial count.

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“We know that the count is not yet done, is not yet over, we still need to be vigilant but I want to issue a statement of gratitude to all of those who have been with us in this long and sometimes very difficult journey for the last six months,” Marcos Jr. said in a message at his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

He thanked his supporters, volunteers, parallel groups, and political leaders who “cast their lot with us.”

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He urged his supporters to continue to guard their votes and continue to support him should he win as president.

As of 11:17 p.m., the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Transparency Media Server has tallied 78.88 percent of the nationwide election returns (or 44,603,401 of 67,442,616 registered voters) and showed Marcos with 25,489,420 votes as against the second placer, Vice President Leni Robredo’s 12,145,860.

Duterte had 25,408,391 votes as against the 7,630,661 votes for Robredo’s running mate, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

Marcos Jr.’s initial tally already surpassed President Duterte’s more than 16 million votes in the 2016 elections.

The votes for Marcos Jr. were equivalent to 57.14 percent of the total counted so far, while Robredo’s represented 27.23 percent, or not far from the results of the last preelection survey conducted by Pulse Asia.

Turnout was expected to be high among the more than 65 million Filipinos eligible to vote on Monday.

“The long lines are magnificent. Filipinos wanted to be heard and heard loudly,” said Comelec Commissioner George Garcia.

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Pacquiao at third

Sen. Manny Pacquiao ranked third in the presidential race with 1,766,290 votes, followed by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso with 1,330,008 votes, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson with 636,590 votes.

The other presidential candidates—Faisal Mangondato, Ernie Abella, Leody de Guzman, Norberto Gonzales and Jose Montemayor Jr.—were at the tail end with less than 80,000 votes.

In the vice presidential contest, Sen. Vicente Sotto III ranked third with 5,450,787 votes, followed by Willie Ong with 1,347,892 votes.

PANDEMIC POLLS Technical problems, long lines and flaring tempers mark the voting in many polling centers across the country on Monday, but overall the national and local elections went smoothly, with pandemic restrictions observed, like here at Aurora Quezon Elementary School in Quezon City. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

PANDEMIC POLLS Technical problems, long lines and flaring tempers mark the voting in many polling centers across the country on Monday, but overall the national and local elections went smoothly, with pandemic restrictions observed, like here at Aurora Quezon Elementary School in Quezon City. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Lito Atienza, Manny SD Lopez, Walden Bello, Carlos Serapio and Rizalito David got less than 145,000 votes.

Smooth transition

The UK-based think tank Pantheon Macroeconomics on Monday said that the likely election of Marcos Jr. as the Philippine president “shouldn’t spook markets.”

“A smooth transition matters most; gridlock due to a contested result is the worst-case scenario. Any future administration will have to shelve reform, as repairing the COVID-19 damage is far from over,” Pantheon Macroeconomics chief emerging Asia economist Miguel Chanco said in a report.

Chanco noted that while Marcos led the surveys leading to the elections, he had “a lot of political baggage, which risks distracting—or, at worst, destabilizing—a probable Marcos administration.”

“His family is still facing lawsuits for ill-gotten wealth obtained during the dictatorship of his late father, and Mr. Marcos is personally facing allegations of tax evasion,” Chanco noted.

On the flip side, Robredo—“the market’s preferred candidate” as shown by a recent Bloomberg poll among analysts and investors—“boasts a concrete set of specific policy proposals, whereas Marcos is running more on his prior record in the offices he has held, most recently as a senator from 2010 to 2016,” Chanco said. However, as surveys had indicated, Chanco said that “the huge crowds that have turned up at Robredo’s rallies have had little impact on sentiment.”

For Chanco, “a Marcos victory is unlikely to translate directly to a bad day for markets.”

“What arguably matters more is that election day proceeds smoothly and that the transition in government takes place without a hitch. This can’t be taken for granted in the Philippines’ still-young, sometimes-fragile and often volatile politics. A ‘bad’ market outcome is an election that doesn’t produce a clear winner, with the presumptive victor then likely to face allegations of electoral misconduct. Remember that no president in modern Philippine history has secured a majority of the electorate’s support,” Chanco said.

Early prediction

Political analysts early on Monday had predicted an “open race” for Malacañang as they did not rule out a possible upset by Robredo, despite a clear lead of Marcos Jr. in preelection surveys.

In a talk with reporters, University of the Philippines-Diliman political scientists Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Herman Kraft said President Duterte’s non-endorsement of Marcos Jr. up until the end meant that there was no guarantee that the national government would mobilize itself for him.

They both agree, however, that local governments could be a decisive factor in swinging the votes in favor of Marcos Jr., who claimed that 90 percent of the governors in the Philippines had endorsed him.

Even so, both also believe that the concept of “command votes” might be powerful only at the local government level and not for national positions.

“It will not assure you of victory,” Ferrer said.

An upset for Robredo, Kraft said, would be possible especially if her “silent supporters” come forward.

The youth, who are believed to be underrepresented in recent surveys, are also expected to swing the tide for Robredo, Ferrer added.

WITH REPORTS FROM KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING, BEN O. DE VERA, AND REUTERS

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Partial, unofficial tally: Marcos has 30M votes, Robredo 14M

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