Manila, Phillipines (BBN)-Maverick anti-crime candidate Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has won the Philippine presidential elections, following the withdrawal of his opponents.
Although the official result has not yet been declared, main rival Mar Roxas admitted defeat after polls gave Mr Duterte an unassailable lead, reports BBC.
Mr Duterte said he accepted the mandate with “extreme humility”.
The 71-year-old stirred controversy during campaigning with his incendiary comments.
He has credited his success to his tough stance on law and order.
His record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao, once notorious for its lawlessness, earned him the moniker The Punisher and resonated with voters.
Other driving issues of the election campaign were pervasive corruption, as well as the poverty and inequality experienced by many Filipinos despite economic growth under outgoing President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Mr Aquino is standing down as the constitution limits presidents to one six-year term.
As Mr Duterte rose in opinion polls ahead of voting, Mr Aquino had tried to unite other candidates against him, warning his election could mean a return to dictatorship for the Philippines.
Mr Duterte has made many controversial statements during his campaign, saying that he would massacre criminals and drug-users, joking about the rape of an Australian missionary and saying he would dissolve congress if it didn’t agree with him.
He has also given forthright opinions on the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, saying he would sail to disputed islands and plant the Philippine flag there.
The Philippines has taken one of its claims to a court of arbitration at the Hague.
On Monday, he said he would seek multilateral talks over the issue, to include the US and Japan.
Duterte: From ‘Punisher’ to president
Born in 1945 into a political family but with a more modest background than many Philippine politicians.
Married twice but now single, he says he has several girlfriends.
A lawyer, he became vice-mayor of Davao in 1986 and mayor in 1988. He has also previously held a seat in congress.
Built a reputation fighting crime, militancy and corruption. He has promised to continue his tough stance as president, but has offered few specific policies.
Well known for incendiary comments, such as saying he would kill thousands of criminals without trial.