‘Mav­er­ick’ Duterte snubs his presidency procla­ma­tion


MANILA: Ro­drigo Duterte snubbed his procla­ma­tion as the next Philip­pine pres­i­dent on Mon­day, re­in­forc­ing his im­age as a mav­er­ick out­sider in­tent on chal­leng­ing the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment.

A joint ses­sion of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate in Manila en­dorsed the of­fi­cial count of this month’s elec­tion, which saw the trash-talk­ing politician who rev­els in threats to kill crim­i­nals win by more than six mil­lion votes.

Duterte de­clined to at­tend the na­tion­ally tele­vised event, pre­fer­ring to re­main more than 900 km away in his south­ern home­town of Davao that he has ruled as mayor for most of the past two decades and he ad­mits is his com­fort zone.

“I am not at­tend­ing the procla­ma­tion. I’ve never at­tended any procla­ma­tion (in) all my life,” Duterte, who will be sworn into of­fice on June 30, told re­porters on the week­end.

Duterte, 71, won the elec­tions largely due to an in­cen­di­ary lawand- or­der platform head­lined by a vow to wipe out crime within six months. He pledged to give se­cu­rity forces shoot-to-kill or­ders, and vowed that tens of thou­sands of crim­i­nals would die. Since the elec- tion Duterte has con­tin­ued to en­cour­age po­lice to kill drug sus­pects, and said he would bring back the death penalty.

An­other key mes­sage of Duterte’s cam­paign was his pledge to take on the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic elite, sell­ing him­self as an ex­plo­sive po­lit­i­cal out­sider that could shake up a power struc­ture over­see­ing one of Asia’s big­gest rich-poor divides.

Duterte railed against the elites and promised to fight for the poor, de­spite having cre­ated his own po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty in Davao and his own vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate com­ing from one of the na­tion’s rich­est fam­i­lies.

Since the elec­tions, Duterte has re­fused to travel to Manila and promised to re­main in Davao un­til he as­sumes the presidency.

This has forced politi­cians, power­bro­kers, busi­ness lead­ers and courtiers to fly to Davao for an au­di­ence.

In fur­ther blows for so-called “Im­pe­rial Manila,” Duterte has named many politi­cians from the south­ern Philippines to cabi­net posts.

Duterte has also re­peat­edly ex­pressed his dis­dain for spend­ing time in Manila, de­scrib­ing it last week as a “dead city” over­run by slums.

He also said he planned to spend as lit­tle time as pres­i­dent in the cap­i­tal as pos­si­ble, and that he hoped to be able to fly each day to and from Davao.

WIN­NER: Philip­pine Sen­ate pres­i­dent Frank Drilon, left, and House speaker Feli­ciano Bel­monte, right, raise the hands of vice pres­i­dent-elect Leni Ro­bredo dur­ing her procla­ma­tion as vice pres­i­dent in Manila on Mon­day. (AFP)

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