Rodrigo Duterte, whose outspoken commentary — including joking about the rape of a missionary — drew international attention to the Philippines’ national elections, appeared poised to win his country’s presidency Monday after a top rival conceded. Grace Poe made the concession Monday night, according to CNN Philippines, even though formal results will not be announced until June. Early exit polls had shown Duterte, the mayor of Davao City, leading with 38.92% of the votes counted, compared with Poe’s 22.14%, according to the Commission on Elections. “I congratulate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and I promise to join in the healing of our nation and to unify our countrymen for our country’s progress,” Poe said, according to CNN Philippines. Poe is a popular senator who was challenged over her citizenship.
Voting for a new Philippine president began on Monday with a brash challenger to the political establishment the favorite to win after campaigning on pledges to crush crime and corruption. Many voters in Manila had to line up in blazing sunshine for more than an hour to cast their votes, and there were several reports of electronic voting machine hitches, which could dash the election commission’s hope to declare a victor in 24 hours. The election campaign exposed widespread disgust with the Southeast Asian country’s ruling elite for failing to tackle poverty and inequality despite years of robust economic growth. Tapping into that sentiment, Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of the southern city of Davao, emerged as the front runner by brazenly defying political tradition, much as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has done in the United States.