UPDATES TO ADD BACKGROUND
By Roy Ramos & Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines (AA) – The Philippines Congress has officially proclaimed Rodrigo Duterte as the country’s 16th president, after the outspoken mayor of southern Davao City won the May 9 election by a landslide.
Both houses voted unanimously to approve the canvassing results that saw Congresswoman Leni Robredo, the running mate of administration-backed presidential candidate Mar Roxas, proclaimed vice president.
Duterte, who is set to take office June 30 as the country’s first president from southern Mindanao island, did not attend the proclamation, having earlier told reporters that he would not travel to Manila until his inauguration.
Duterte beat Roxas, a former interior and local government secretary under outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, by more than six million votes, according to the canvass report.
Camarines Sur Congresswoman Robredo won the vice presidential race against Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. -- son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos -- by more than 260,000 votes -- a result that has been disputed by his camp.
In Duterte's 22 years as mayor of Davao City, a bustling commercial hub in Mindanao, the 71-year-old imposed bans on public smoking, and the selling of alcohol and the operation of entertainment spots past midnight.
After winning the election on a crime-fighting campaign, he vowed to work toward re-imposing the death penalty and made overtures toward negotiating with insurgency movements.
Duterte offered members of the Communist Party of the Philippines posts in the new government and offered to release all political prisoners if their leaders return from exile and sit down for peace negotiations.
Duterte, a devout Christian, has also backed the outgoing government's peace process with one-time largest Muslim rebel group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as indigenous peoples’ calls for greater autonomy.