Digong last voter; foes leave fate to God | Inquirer News

Digong last voter; foes leave fate to God

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte votes to sure victory on Monday. BARRY OHAYLAN/CONTRIBUTOR

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte votes to sure victory on Monday. BARRY OHAYLAN/CONTRIBUTOR

DAVAO CITY—Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, Davao City’s “nocturnal” mayor, was the last of five presidential candidates to vote in Monday’s national elections but clinched the lead early in the vote count.

Duterte, who “sleeps at daytime,” according to his spokesperson Peter Laviña,  arrived past 3 p.m. at Daniel Aguinaldo High School in Matina district and was mobbed by admiring residents who expected the brash, antiestablishment politician to become the next President of the Philippines.


At a press briefing after the balloting, Duterte jested about the frenzy at his polling precinct, describing his supporters as “uncontrollable.”


“You’d need the riot police here,” said Duterte, who had promised mass killings of suspected criminals under his presidency.

His vice presidential running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano,    who did not fare as well  in the polls, voted at CP Santa Teresa Elementary School in Taguig City, accompanied by his wife, Lani, who was running unopposed for a second term as mayor of the city.

Cayetano said he was confident Duterte would win the race for the presidency. As for himself, he said he was “very much at peace.”

 ‘At peace and happy’

Duterte’s challenger, Sen. Grace Poe, who went into the election in second place in voter-preference surveys, voted at noon to avoid an early-morning crush of voters at Santa Lucia Elementary School in San Juan City.

Poe looked relaxed and well rested after spending Mother’s Day with her family and visiting her adoptive mother, movie actress Susan Roces, on Sunday.


The independent candidate said she was nervous, as she was in 2013 when she ran for the Senate, but that after praying for divine help at Quiapo Church on Sunday she was now “at peace and happy.”

She urged her supporters not to lose hope because the polls showed her with a good chance of winning the presidential race.

Her vice presidential running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, traveled to Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province with his wife, movie actress Heart Evangelista, early in the morning and arrived in time for the opening of polling stations.

The couple voted at 6:10 a.m., minutes after their polling precinct opened.

Escudero, who lost his early lead in the polls to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and administration vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo toward the end of the campaign, said he was leaving his fate to God.

“Thy will be done,” he said. “Whatever God wills, that’s what all the candidates will get.”

‘I did my best’

Administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas, the third-placer in the polls, flew to Roxas City in his home province of Capiz with his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, to vote.

“I’m very serene, very optimistic and I’m at peace with myself,” Roxas told reporters after casting his ballot at Rufina Andrada Santos Memorial School in Barangay V.

Despite his poor performance in the polls, Roxas said he knew he did his best.

“I know that in the end, the deserving candidate will win,” he said.

His running mate, Robredo, voted at Tabuco Central School in Naga City, her hometown, and then went to Eternal Gardens to visit the tomb of her husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, together with their three daughters.

At the tomb of her husband, Robredo told reporters that if she won the election and Duterte captured Malacañang, she would lead the fight against human rights abuses.

“I’m very realistic in acknowledging that the Vice President has limited powers, but I will be vocal. I will do what I can,” she said.

“As a general rule, the Vice President should be supportive of the President in spite of party differences. It’s your obligation to the people to work together. But there are some things that can’t be compromised. [Human rights] is one of those,” she added.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who slid into fourth place in the presidential polls under the weight of a barrage of corruption allegations, voted in his bailiwick, Makati City, watching out for irregularities in the automated balloting, which he said could cost him the election.

“My concern is massive cheating, especially with what they have done to me,” Binay told reporters at his house on Caong Street in Barangay San Antonio after voting. He was referring to his investigation by the Senate over allegations that he pocketed millions of pesos in kickbacks from overpriced infrastructure contracts when he was mayor of Makati.

“The first of two phases have happened. What’s left is the principal phase,” he said, without describing the phases.

He insisted that he would win the election. “I prepared my victory speech last night because, I think, I will really win,” he said.

Binay’s running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, and his wife, Jane, voted at Nativity of Our Lady School in Marikina City.

Honasan, No. 5 in the polls for the vice presidential race with six candidates, said his fate was up to God and the voters.

“Filipino voters were given the right to hold orderly and intelligent elections. Let’s leave the decision to the voters, especially the young voters, and to God,” he said.

Finishing last

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who finished last in the polls for the presidential race, voted at the clubhouse of La Vista subdivision in Quezon City at 7 a.m.

She said she voted for “eight to nine” senatorial candidates, although she and her running mate, Senator Marcos, had endorsed 10.

Santiago did not say anything about her expectations, but she described the voting process as “very easy.”

Her only complaints, she said, was the placing of the voter’s receipts not in a ballot box but in a cardboard box that could be “very easily defaced or damaged or substituted.”

Santiago’s running mate, Marcos, son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, voted in his hometown, Batac in Ilocos Norte province.

“God’s will be done,” Marcos said when asked by reporters about his chances.

Later, at a news conference, he urged voters to vote for candidates they believed deserved to become leaders of the country.

He said voters should not allow themselves to be tempted by offers of money for their votes.

“It is important to hear the voice of the [people on Election Day],” Marcos said.

 He’ll hound Duterte

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, an independent vice presidential candidate who finished the campaign at the tail end of the race, voted at Holy Infant Montessori Center in Caloocan City, vowing to hound Duterte with corruption charges if the Davao mayor won the presidential election.

“Regardless of the results of the elections, we will face each other,” Trillanes told reporters.

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“The things I exposed about him are not only for the elections. He must be held accountable for them,” he said, referring to the millions of pesos that he alleged Duterte had in undisclosed bank accounts. With reports from Gil Cabacungan, Marlon Ramos, DJ Yap, Tarra Quismundo, Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Jeannette I. Andrade and Kristine Felisse Mangunay; Tetch Torres-Tupas, Inquirer.net; Michael B. Jaucian, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and Leilani Adriano, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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