Philippines gives thumbs-up to Duterte as loyalists dominate election

16 Mai, 2019, 10:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

According to an unofficial midterm tally from the Philippines Commission on Elections, released on May 14, nine of the 12 seats are likely to go to candidates endorsed by the President.

President Duterte has received a public vote of confidence after unofficial mid-term election results showed big wins for his candidates.

Yesterday's ballot for more than 18,000 posts, among them hundreds of mayors, governors, and Congressmen, was billed as a referendum on the firebrand president, with special focus on his bid to consolidate power in the all-important upper house. Capital punishment and constitutional reform bills have both sailed through the lower house with little opposition since 2016, but were halted by the Senate's mix of administration opponents and independents.

Duterte's three children were also expected to win the races for mayor, vice mayor and a congressional seat representing their southern home region of Davao city.

Those leading include Duterte's former national police chief Ronald dela Rosa, who enforced the president's crackdown on illegal drugs, a campaign that's left thousands of suspects dead and drawn worldwide condemnation.

"I voted for numerous candidates endorsed by President Duterte because his government is doing its job", said Myrna Cruz, 51.

The mid-term results leave the political opposition in tatters and changes the dynamic of a Senate that has traditionally been a vital check on state power and a bulwark against the kind of political dominance that Duterte is demonstrating.

Her younger brother Sebastian is seeking, unopposed, the city's vice-mayoral seat, while Duterte's eldest son Paolo is standing for a seat in the lower House of Representatives.

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"Undoubtedly, the Duterte magic spelled the difference", he said. "They yearn for a constructive and not obstructionist Senate".

The midterms came at a time when Duterte, 74, is seemingly untouchable, with last year's spiralling inflation now under control and a recent poll showing his public approval rating at a staggering 81 per cent.

The result also shows the effectiveness of a diehard social media support base, despite intermittent outrage over his pro-China stance, jokes about rape, tirades about the church, and his anti-drugs crackdown.

His daughter Sara Duterte has played a prominent role in the campaign, acting as kingmaker in many races, according to Reuters.

Duterte's critics needed to accept that the electorate had rejected such negative propaganda, Panelo added.

The opposition vowed not to give in.

"Our fight for justice, for sovereignty and a more progressive future for our people continues", said incumbent Senator Francis Pangilinan.

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