Aquino landslide

President elect pledges clean administration

President-elect Beningo MANILA - With the Philippine presidential election vote count almost complete as of press time, results show Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III taking about 40 percent of the estimated 37.5 million votes cast in the country’s first automated polls.

Former president Joseph Estrada, trailed with 25 percent of the vote, and Arroyo’s chosen successor Gilberto Teodoro ran a distant fourth.

With the Philippine presidential election vote count almost complete as of press time, results show Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III taking about 40 percent of the estimated 37.5 million votes cast in the country’s first automated polls.

Former president Joseph Estrada, trailed with 25 percent of the vote, and Arroyo’s chosen successor Gilberto Teodoro ran a distant fourth.

A day after the May 10th election, presidential aspirants Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. (Nacionalista Party), Gilberto Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), Bro. Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas), Sen. Richard Gordon, and JC delos Reyes conceded defeat to Aquino.

Only Estrada, Sen. Jamby Madrigal and environmentalist Nicanor Perlas refused to concede, seemingly unfazed by the commanding lead posted by Aquino in both the PPCRV and Commission on Elections (Comelec) count.

In the vice presidential race, Estrada’s running mate, Makati City’s Jejomar Binay (PDP-Laban), kept his lead over LP vice presidential bet Sen. Mar Roxas.

In the senatorial race, leader of the pack was Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. followed by fellow re-electionist Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago came in third, followed by former senator Franklin M. Drilon, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Pia Cayetano.

Governor Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. came in at No. 7 followed in the “Magic 12” by former Sen. Ralph Recto, former Sen. Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III, Sen. Lito Lapid and Teofisto Guingona Jr.

Aquino has pledged that he would have a lean, graft-free cabinet and also promised to travel overseas less, investigate corruption and renew peace talks on ending decades-long insurgencies.

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

According to reports, the president-elect has now begun assembling his Cabinet from the ranks of disgruntled defectors from outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration. One ministerial nominee said that bloated contracts, especially from Arroyo’s last six months in office, would be investigated before being honoured.

Aquino criticized Arroyo after the president named a new chief justice to the Supreme Court, two days after the election. It was one of a string of Arroyo appointments that critics believe are intended to maintain her political influence once she steps down.

“We call upon her to recognize the new government’s right to appoint the next chief justice,” Aquino said in a statement.

“There is still time for Mrs Arroyo to reconsider her decision. We hope she will choose not to add another burden on top of everything else she will be leaving behind.”

Aquino vowed to investigate the 2004 election scandal in which Arroyo allegedly rigged the voting results. Aquino also accused Arroyo of using her time in power to enrich herself.

“She could have brought significant changes to this country but she chose to advance her personal interests and those who were supporting her personal interests to the detriment of the country,” said Aquino.

Gary Olivar, Arroyo’s spokesman said on Wednesday, May 12, that the incumbent president was ready to face any investigation over the alleged vote rigging and that she confident that she would be found innocent.

“This offers the president an opportunity to answer these accusations, to clear the air and submit herself to the judgement of history,” he said.

The soon to be former President Arroyo, will not be disappearing from public life yet. She was elected to Congress in the May 10 election to represent her home province of Pampanga.

Benigno Aquino III is the son of former president Corazon Aquino who led the “People Power” revolution that overthrew the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. 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 May 10 election, by Philippine standards, was relatively smooth in spite of defective voting machines, long lineups at polling stations and several reported violent incidents in Mindanao.

Among the colourful and notorious winners in the election were world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and Imelda Marcos, widow of the former dictator, who both won seats in the House of Representatives.

Aquino will inherit a country struggling with poverty, corruption, political discord, Muslim insurgencies and violent crimes.

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