Duterte set for big win
Karl Malakunas, Agence France-Presse
Philippines poised to have its first president from Mindanao
MANILA (UPDATED as of 11 a.m) - Rodrigo Duterte was set to secure a huge win in the Philippine presidential elections, according to an election poll monitor.
Duterte, the longtime mayor of the southern city of Davao, hypnotized millions with his vows of solving the nation's twin plagues of crime and poverty, which many believed had worsened despite strong economic growth in recent years.
And after a record turnout of voters in Monday's elections, Duterte appeared set for a commanding victory.
With votes from 90.63 percent of clustered precincts counted as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Duterte had 15.28 million votes, about 6 million more than his nearest rival, administration bet Mar Roxas, according to the PPCRV, a Catholic Church-run poll monitor accredited by the government to tally the votes.
Duterte will be the first Philippine president from Mindanao. At 71, he will also be the oldest among the 15 previous Philippine presidents.
Senator Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of movie stars, conceded after the ongoing tally placed her third with 21.66 percent.
"I congratulate Mayor Duterte," Poe told reporters.
"(He) is clearly the leading candidate in the ongoing count and has been chosen by a plurality of our people".
Before the results came out, Duterte was already speaking like a winner as he called for rivalries to be put aside following one of the nation's most bitter and divisive campaigns in the Philippines' history.
"I want to reach out my hand and let us begin the healing now," Duterte told reporters in Davao, the nation's third-biggest city, which he has ruled for most of the past two decades.
However, he said he would not proclaim himself the victor until it was official.
"I am not there until I am there, and that is the when last vote is counted and you are declared a winner. At this time it would be presumptuous of me," he said.
In the Philippines, a winner is decided simply by whomever gets the most votes.
Poe had seen her popularity slide after critics pointed to her taking US citizenship then later giving it up.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, the early favorite, was in a distant fourth place, according to the poll monitor, after crumbling under the weight of a barrage of corruption allegations.
Former dictator Marcos's son and namesake dropped to second place in the race to be elected vice president, according to the poll monitor, overtaken by administration bet, Congresswoman Leni Robredo.
READ: Duterte leads presidential race