Philippines election: Duterte declares victory and promises change

Controversial politician weeps at parents graves as results show he has unassailable lead, and vows to change constitution

The Philippine politician Rodrigo Duterte, who has an unbeatable lead in unofficial tallies in the countrys presidential race, will push to rewrite the constitution and change to a federal system of government, his spokesman has said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning a few hours after Duterte claimed victory, Peter Lavina said the plan will require a wide national consensus beginning with asking congress to call for a constitutional convention.

There will be major rewriting of our constitution, he said.

Duterte, 71, had promised during a foul-mouthedcampaign to change from a centralised system to a federal parliamentary form of government, a policy that has been popular in provinces far from Manila.

As mayor for two decades in the southern city of Davao, Duterte has complained that the capital gets everything so regions are forced to beg.

During his campaign, Duterte pledged to kill tens of thousands of criminals and joked about raping an Australian missionary. His campaign symbol is a fist.

Yet the man who has been labelled the punisher displayed a more reflective side of his character at about 3am on Tuesday shortly after results made it clear he had won, as he drove to a cemetery and wept at his parents graves.

Help me Mom, he said as he sobbed in front of cameras. Im just a nobody. He later told reporters he would behave as president.

Rodrigo Duterte weeps as he visits his parents graves after claiming victory in the countrys election.

Lavina said policies Duterte imposed in Davao could be implemented nationwide, including a late-night drinking ban and a curfew for unescorted minors after 10pm.

This liquor ban is because we have to work the next day, he said. Nothing to do with denying us of our freedoms.

Incidentally, we have a ban on loud karaoke [in Davao] because everyone has to go to bed.

Lavina added that although Duterte could use an executive order, it would be best done through a consultative democratic process of legislating these measures.

A preliminary ballot count by the accredited election commission showed Duterte has close to 39% of counted votes. The unofficial results suggest the tough-talking mayor, who has pledged to kill criminals en masse during his six-year term, will win when the official tally is announced.

The two runners-up, Grace Poe and Manuel Mar Araneta Roxas, have already conceded, virtually assuring victory for Duterte. Filipinos also voted for a vice-president and more than 18,000 local and national representatives in the archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands.

The vice-presidential race has been much tighter, with the lawyer and social activist Leni Robredo just 0.4 points ahead of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the late dictator who was widely expected to win.

The official election commission could take days to announce the final results.

In the congressional race, Geraldine Roman celebrated overcoming bigotry, hatred and discrimination after results showed she had become the countrys first transgender politician to win a seat.

Roman is seen by the LGBT community as a source of hope in a country heavily influenced by the church.

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