MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday afternoon joined the voting to elect his successor, who would lead the Philippines after a 2-year pandemic and an economic crunch.
Duterte cast bis ballot in his hometown Davao City, hours after his daughter, vice-presidential aspirant Sara Duterte-Carpio, voted.
Duterte, 77, who did not endorse any presidential bet for this year's elections, voted close to 5 p.m. at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Matina Crossing.
As a senior citizen, the President was allowed to skip the line and proceeded straight to the voting area, where he spent several minutes filling out his ballot.
Supporters greeted Duterte upon his arrival, accompanied by his longtime partner Honeylet Avancena and aide Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go. He was clad in dark blue polo with the Philippine flag pinned on the left collar.
After voting, Duterte was asked to sign the desk that he used in voting, which he had also done during the previous elections.
DUTERTE TO SUPPORTERS: THANK YOU
The President did not grant an interview to the waiting members of the media, but instead addressed the gathered crowd in Visayan. In a short speech, Duterte thanked Davaoeños for strongly supporting his presidency.
"Ako tatalikod na sa aking pagiging Pangulo. Gusto ko lang makarinig - ang aking taus pusong pagpapasalamat sa inyong mga taga-Davao. Kayo ang nagsimula ng aking ‘journey,’ ng aking paglakbay papunta sa Malacañang,” Duterte told the cheering crowd.
(I will now turn my back on the presidency. I just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You started my journey to Malacañang.)
The President also the supporters of the candidacies of Duterte-Carpio and his sons, Paolo Duterte, who is seeking reelection as Davao City's first district congressman, and Sebastian Duterte, who is running for mayor there.
“Kayo, tapos na man kayo bumoto, bawal na rin naman (mag-campaign), salamat na lang din sa inyong pagtulong sa kanila."
(You may be already done voting and campaigning is no longer allowed. Thank you for helping them.)
Duterte ended his short speech by assuring that he would remain a servant to the public even after he steps down as president on June 30.
“Tapos, ako andito lang sa Davao so kahit civilian na ako, kung anuman ang aking magagawa para sa ‘yo, katulad ng aking sinabi dati pa nung nagsimula pa lang ako sa pagka-mayor, ako si Rodrigo Duterte, mananatiling inyong tagapaglingkod,” he said.
(I will just be here in Davao so even if I am a civilian. Whatever I will do next, just like what I said before, I will remain as a servant.)
Duterte earlier said he wanted the next president to be a lawyer and a good judge of character. He also urged his successor to continue his drug war.
Analysts earlier said it was important for Duterte to have a loyal successor who could shield him from possible legal action, including the International Criminal Court's suspended inquiry into the killings under his anti-narcotics drive.
Duterte last year called his daughter's running-mate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. a "weak leader." But the PDP-Laban faction he chairs has backed the candidacy of Marcos, who has topped pre-election surveys.
Bookmark the ABS-CBN News Halalan results page to see the partial unofficial tally of election returns.
For other updates, visit ABS-CBN News' live blog here.
- Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News
Video from PTV