DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 May) – Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard-bearer and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lost no time reaching out to his rivals as soon as the polls closed on Monday.
Presidential bet and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte faces the media after casting his vote on Monday. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco
After casting his vote, Duterte, in a press conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel Davao, said he would like reach out to his opponents so the “healing process” could start.
“Let’s begin to forget about the travails of the elections,” he said. “When I offer (peace), that’s without exemption but if they don’t accept my goodwill, fine. I always believe in the deep abiding faith in God.”
Duterte, who widened his lead in surveys conducted days before the elections, had been the subject of adverse political ads that used children in an attempt to pull down his ranking.
These ads were aired over national TV networks from Thursday to Saturday, the last day of the 90-day campaign period.
Supporters swarmed Duterte as he cast his votes at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Matina Aplaya.
Supporters cheered as the mayor alighted from his vehicle and walked to his precinct.
Duterte entered his polling precinct at 3:10 p.m. and left at 3:25 p.m.
Some of his supporters who voted early in the morning had waited until late afternoon to witness his arrive, while other voters opted to cast their votes after Duterte had cast his.
He refused to ask questions pertaining to his possible victory, saying he does not want to preempt the result.
He said he was satisfied with the conduct of the elections despite receiving reports of cheating in some parts of the country.
“There are cheating but not big enough to dent the conduct of the election,” he said.
The 70-year old mayor said that even if he had not lost in any election in the past, he would accept whatever the outcome would be.
“This is my 11th elections in life and I have not suffered any defeat so far. If God wants me there, I’ll serve the people. I ain’t there until I am there,” he said.
Duterte was elected mayor from 1988 to 1998, and again for three terms from 2001 to 2010. He served as 1st district representative from 1998 to 2001 and vice mayor to daughter Sara from 2010 to 2013. He was elected mayor again in 2013, and by June 30, 2016 shall have completed 22 years as mayor of Davao City.
Petty leader, a tragedy
Duterte allayed fears that he would kill people over petty crimes.
“If you kill people for petty crimes, then you must be petty human being. It’s going to be a tragedy for this country to have a petty president,” he said.
The mayor has been known for his hardline stance against criminality and drugs.
He warned drug lords, police personnel, and Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue employees and officials who are involved in corruption to stop.
Duterte said he can only give police officers two options: “to retire or maybe to die.”
He added police may shoot criminals if they try to put up a fight.
“It should be the criminals who have to go first. We are responsible for the integrity of this republic, we have to provide security for all. A government who does nothing, who cannot solve the problems of drugs and criminality, that government is a waste,” he said,.
On his promise to solve crimes and the drug problem in three to six months, he said he cannot solve anything even if he is given 10 years if the people will not cooperate and make the change themselves.
“Three weeks to one month and nobody will believe and follow my order, even 10 years I cannot do it,” he said.
“If nobody follows you as president, you are in trouble. I expect to clean government… Ako naman when I say do this, do it,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)