Duterte win breaks Mindanao 'curse'

David Dizon, ABS-CBN News

Rodrigo Duterte campaigning in Mindanao. Handout photo

MANILA - For the first time in history, a candidate from the southern Philippines is set to break the "Mindanao curse" and take over the highest post in the land.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the firebrand politician who fashioned a controversial campaign on an anti-crime message, is poised to win the 2016 presidential race after establishing a commanding six-million-vote lead over closest rival Mar Roxas a day after polls closed.

Speaking to ANC, political analyst Prospero de Vera said Duterte's phenomenal rise to the presidency upends traditional wisdom that only candidates from Luzon or the Visayas can win the presidency.

Twelve out of the country's 15 presidents are from Luzon. Only three are from the Visayas: Sergio OsmeƱa, Manuel Roxas, Carlos Garcia.

"The more important phenomenon is that, finally, someone from Mindanao has taken out the Mindanao curse. From Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez to [former Senator] Nene Pimentel and the others, all those who tried from Mindanao couldn't capture national office because their votes were just from Mindanao. What makes Duterte phenomenal is that he won Metro Manila...imperial Manila. That is historic in a sense," he said.

De Vera said the Duterte candidacy tapped into the frustration of many Filipinos who felt that the promises of President Aquino's "Daang Matuwid" governance have fallen short.

"That comes with a price because Mindanao has been so deprived all of these years and now the expectation [that] something dramatic must happen in Mindanao now rests on the shoulders of Duterte. Now, he has to rise to that challenge...," he said.

'SPONTANEOUS SUPPORT'

Philippine presidential candidate and Davao city mayor Rodrigo 'Digong' Duterte kisses the Philippine flag during a "Miting de Avance" (last political campaign rally) before the national elections at Rizal park in Manila in the Philippines May 7, 2016. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

For his part, Prof. Edmund Tayao said Duterte does not have the same base of supporters as his predecessor, President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino also won a plurality in the 2010 presidential election.

Tayao said the Duterte campaign tapped into a cross section of society and gathered support quite differently compared to the Aquino campaign in 2010.

"This guy literally started from scratch, so in other words, I am not about to compare the base of President Noynoy and Mayor Duterte. In fact, I would rather say that this is really spontaneous support on the part of the electorate," he said.

The analyst said that he expected Duterte to be a good presidential candidate but thought that the mayor's controversial remarks would turn off voters.

During the campaign, Duterte came under fire for various remarks such as cursing the Pope, his wish to have been first to rape an Australian missionary, and promising to shut down Congress if he faces impeachment. He also called out his rivals, describing Vice President Jejomar Binay as corrupt and ex-DILG chief Mar Roxas as weak and pretentious.

READ: Duterte: Psych test may reveal Binay's corrupt character

OLIVE BRANCH

Tayao, however, said Duterte is now showing a different side to his personality by being the first to offer an olive branch after a vicious campaign.

READ: After voting, Duterte calls for 'healing'

"After the election, you see an entirely different Duterte. I didn't expect to see such a presidential-like, honest, humble personality in a president-elect or presumptive president like him. The way he speaks now is significantly different from the way he spoke during the campaign," he said.

Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference after casting his vote in Davao City on Monday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

De Vera said President Aquino has an opportunity to "go out in a blaze of glory" by accepting the Duterte presidency on behalf of the Liberal Party. This, after President Aquino drew parallels between the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Germany and what could happen under a Duterte presidency.

READ: PNoy parallels rise of Duterte and Hitler

He said Aquino accepting Duterte's victory is important to ensure a smooth transfer of power and could even define Aquino's leadership.

"Do it on behalf of Mar because Mar is hurting...He lost. If PNoy does it for the party, things will change," he said.

"That would mean all these insinuations, that they will impeach Duterte, that they will use the LP in the Senate, this will dissipate," he added.

He also said Senator Grace Poe's decision to accept Duterte's victory Monday night could have earned her more support and primed her for a possible presidential run in 2022.

He said the issues raised against Poe were about her citizenship and residency status and had nothing to do with her performance.

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