Rodrigo Duterte has swept to victory in The Philippines presidential election after his main rival admitted defeat.
Mar Roxas threw in the towel while counting the votes was underway and the official result is still to be declared.
The election triggered a record turnout of more than 80% of the 54 million electorate in The Philippines.
With 10% of the ballot papers still to be counted, Duterte has collared around 40% of the vote against 15% to Roxas, who feels he cannot bridge the gap.
Duterte Harry – who gets his nickname from the Clint Eastwood vigilante cop Dirty Harry – takes to the main stage of Philippines politics at the age of 71 and with a fearsome reputation behind him as former mayor of the Pacific country’s third largest city, Davao.
Duterte is expected to bring more than one night of the long knives to the country.
In Davao, he set up and armed a civilian militia tasked with stamping out crime at any cost.
On his orders, human rights campaigners believe hundreds of alleged criminals were murdered by death squads attached to the militia targeted them.
Duterte is also known for speaking his mind in public – and having to apologise for making outrageous statements.
“I accept this mandate from the people with extreme humility,” said Duterte.
Outrageous election pledges
In his election campaign, Duterte has pledged to:
- Kill 100,000 drug pushers, robbers and ‘do-nothings’
- Kill his children if they took drugs
- Take on China’s disputed claim to sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea which infringes on the territorial waters of the Philippines.
He also insulted The Pope, swearing and urging him to go home because of traffic jams caused by his visit to the capital Manila, for which he had to write an apology to The Vatican.
Another apology followed his when an Australian preacher was raped and murdered while working in a prison.
Duterte was accused of disrespecting women after he distastefully suggested she was beautiful and he should have been first in the queue.
He dismissed his comments as ‘man talk’. Duterte also bragged about having two mistresses and his life as a womaniser on the campaign trail.
Parallels have been drawn between Duterte and US presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Not only do both shoot from the hip in speeches and debates, but both are light on policy details.