KUWAIT CITY, May 9: Filipinos in Kuwait joined the rest of the over 1.3 million Filipino Overseas Voters and 54.4 million registered voters in the Philippines as they trooped on Monday to the Philippine Embassies and Consulates across the globe for the last day of the month-long Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) to elect the next set of leaders, President, Vice President, 12 Senators and a Party List Representative.
In Kuwait, the maverick Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won by landslide in the presidential race with 9,747 votes based on the partial and unofficial results as announced during the canvassing of votes led by Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa and Labour Attache Cesar Chavez Jr. Trailing behind Duterte was the administration candidate Secretary Mar Roxas with 1021 votes followed by Senator Grace Poe with 598 votes, Senator Miriam Santiago with 580 votes, Jejomar Binay and Roy Seneres with 224 and 3 votes respectively.
Meanwhile in the Vice Presidential race, Senator Bongbong Marcos topped the other candidates with 4,777 votes and trailing closely was Duterte’s running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano with 4,666 while Representative Leni Robredo had 1,999 votes, Chiz Escudero 545, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV with 85 votes and Senator Gringo Honasan, 70 votes.
A total of 14,524 voted in Kuwait out of the 58,533 registered voters that accounts for 24% voters, short of the 30% voters turnout as earlier projected by Villa. The Ambassador thanked all the Filipinos in Kuwait who went out to cast their votes and exercise their right of suffrage.
Based on the Commission on Elections data, there are a total of 1,376,067 overseas voters registered for this year’s elections — the highest number of Filipino overseas voters, ever. As of May 9 at 12pm ,based on figures by the Department of Foreign Affairs Overseas Voting Secretariat, the Middle East has been leading in the number of voter’s turnout with 158,250 followed by the Asia Pacific (134,015), Americas (72,021) and Europe (42,494).
Despite its top spot, the Middle east failed to get at least 50% voters turnout as the number accounts for 26.65% voters turnout out of the 590,440 registered voters in the Middle East. Generally, the OAV in the Middle East went on smoothly posting the highest number of voters turnout since the OAV started. Among the posts that used the automated election system were Abu Dhabi (UAE); Beirut, Lebanon; Doha, Qatar; Dubai, UAE; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Manama, Bahrain; Al Khobar Saudi Arabia; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv, Israel. Other posts are in the Asia Pacific such as Hong Kong; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Osaka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Singapore, Tokyo, Japan; in North and Latin America such as Agana, Guam; Chicago, USA; Honolulu, USA; Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA; Ottawa, Canada; San Francisco, USA; Toronto, Canada; Vancouver, Canada; Washington DC, USA; and in Europe namely London, United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; Milan, Italy and Rome, Italy. Canvassing of votes is still ongoing in various embassies and consulates in the Middle East and across the globe.
In the Philippines, Duterte looked virtually certain to become the Philippines’ next president as results from Monday’s election poured in and a rival conceded defeat, confirmation the outsider’s vow to crush crime had resonated with voters. Seven hours after polling stations had closed, a rolling ballot count by an election commission-accredited watchdog showed Duterte had about 39 percent of votes cast. Grace Poe, a popular senator, won more than a fifth of the votes counted but conceded defeat to Duterte and said his lead reflected the will of the people.
Duterte’s incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings to stamp out crime and drugs have alarmed many who hear echoes of the Southeast Asian country’s authoritarian past. The 71-year-old’s truculent defiance of political tradition has drawn comparisons with US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, as have his references to his libido. Duterte made a succession of winding, bellicose and at times comical remarks on television as the votes were being counted, venting over corruption and bad governance and telling anecdotes from his 22 years as mayor of Davao city.
He said corrupt officials should “retire, or die” and reiterated his support for police to use of deadly force against criminals. “If they put up a good fight and refuse to surrender and if you feel your life is in jeopardy, shoot. You have my authority,” he told reporters in Davao, wearing a checked shirt and slouched in a chair. His man-of-the-people demeanour tapped into popular disgust with the political establishment over its failure to tackle poverty and inequality despite several uninterrupted years of robust economic growth. The election numbers reported by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) had, by midnight (0400 GMT), accounted for about 80 percent of the 54 million registered Filipino voters. Duterte had 13.7 million votes, with the government’s candidate Manuel Roxas second with nearly 8 million, followed by Poe with 7.6 million votes. The PPCRV count is not official but Poe’s decision to concede defeat added weight to his presumed victory.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff and Agencies