MANILA – For getting an overwhelming lead in the May 9 presidential polls, PDP-LABAN standard bearer Rodrigo Duterte expressed his gratitude to supporters and campaign volunteers.
“I thank all my supporters, the volunteers – I was so elated with the warm reception I got all over the country, even in Luzon,” he said.
The tough-talking Duterte is poised to win the presidency after Sen. Grace Poe conceded.
Based on the partial, unofficial results from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Tuesday morning, Duterte has netted 14,951,034 votes, or a wide margin of six million votes over his closest rival, Manuel “Mar” Roxas II with 8,964,087 votes.
Placing third is Poe, with 8,386,496 votes, followed by Jejomar Binay with 4,973,770 votes, and Miriam Defensor Santiago with 1,354,891 votes.
The results represent 88.57 percent of the nationwide election returns from the Commission on Elections.
Duterte also called on his rivals to set their disagreements aside and start working together for the country.
“I would like now reach my hand to my opponents and let us begin the process of healing,” he said.
Although acknowledging that the exchange of innuendos is part of the election process in the Philippines, he admitted that the mudslinging during the campaign period was very intense and virulent.
“Let us begin to forget, and let us be friends,” he said.
When asked if he is also reaching out to vice presidential candidate and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, his most ardent critic during the campaign, Duterte said his peace offering is intended for everybody.
Should his rivals refuse his call, Duterte said he cannot do anything about it.
During the past three months, Duterte engaged Roxas and Binay in a fiery verbal clash over issues as they toured the countryside to court votes.
But, it was Duterte himself who absorbed the stinging blows in the final two weeks of the campaign when Trillanes hurled accusations against him.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he is satisfied with the conduct of the national and local polls yesterday.
“So, far I have not received any reports of cheating and violation,” he said.