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Aquino Set for Landslide Philippine Win

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 08:21 PM

MANILA - Benigno Aquino on Wednesday looked set to become the new Philippine president, though final election results may not be known for several days.

The reserved 50-year-old senator pledged to fight corruption after riding a wave of support from the "People Power" movement of his democracy hero parents.

Aquino steamrollered his rivals in Monday's election, with the latest results giving him more than 40 percent of the estimated 37.5 million votes cast in the country's first automated polls.

His closest rival, former president Joseph Estrada, 73, was trailing on 25 percent of the vote with only a few million ballots still uncounted, but refused to concede before the final results are announced.

Election officials said this could take a few more days as data from outlying precincts were not being fed into the central tabulation centre, requiring some technical adjustments.

A proclamation can only be made after 100 percent of the data arrives.

Aquino told AFP in an interview even before being formally proclaimed the winner that he would "lead by example" and bring in clean government after almost a decade under the corruption-tainted rule of President Gloria Arroyo.

He said that once in office he would ensure that Arroyo, one of the Philippines' most unpopular leaders, would be investigated for alleged vote-rigging in the last election in 2004.

"I want to lead by example. We talk about corruption. I did make a public vow, I will never steal," he said, adding that this would give him the "moral authority" to make others conform.

Arroyo is suspected of being the voice in a telephone recording of a woman appearing to pressure an election official into ensuring the 2004 presidential vote count stayed in her favour.

Millions of Filipinos turned out to vote Monday despite deadly bouts of violence and problems with ballot-counting machines that led to long queues.

"Noynoy" Aquino, the son of the Philippines' most revered democracy heroes, wooed the country during a tumultuous election campaign with his mantra of clean government and pledges to reduce poverty.

Aquino is due to take office at the end of Arroyo's six-year term on June 30.

Among the winners of the thousands of other posts up for grabs were Imelda Marcos, the flamboyant widow of toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

Aquino's mother Corazon Aquino led the "People Power" revolution that overthrew the late dictator Marcos in 1986 and then served as president.

His father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, was shot dead in 1983 as he attempted to return from US exile to lead the movement against Marcos.

The United States, the former colonial power, hailed the overall conduct of the election, while the European Union said the high turnout and "admirable patience" of voters, many of whom queued for hours in extreme heat, showed Filipinos' commitment to democracy.

Marcos's widow Imelda, the 80-year-old known for her vast number of fancy shoes, made a dramatic return to the public eye more than two decades after the popular revolt forced the family to flee into exile in Hawaii, winning a seat in the House of Representatives.

Shares surged on Aquino's expected victory, with the Manila bourse closing up 3.85 percent to 3,262.93, the biggest jump in more than eight months.

The feisty Arroyo, 63, pledged a smooth handover of power but is intent on remaining in politics with a seat in congress.

The violence that always plagues Philippine politics inevitably flared, with 10 people killed on polling day, bringing the death toll from election-related violence this year to at least 40, though security officials said the poll was a relatively peaceful and orderly exercise.

More than 17,000 positions were at stake -- from president down to municipal council seats -- and candidates included local politicians who are infamous for using "private armies" to eliminate rivals or intimidate voters.

Another six people were killed Tuesday by communist guerrillas who have been staging sporadic attacks on security forces.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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MANILA - Benigno Aquino on Wednesday looked set to become the new Philippine president, though final election results may not be known for several days.
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2010-21-11
 
 

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