Duterte rival concedes in Philippines presidential election

Manila, Philippines CNN  — 

Rodrigo Duterte, whose outspoken commentary – including joking about the rape of a missionary – drew international attention to the Philippines’ national elections, appeared poised to win his country’s presidency Monday after a top rival conceded.

Grace Poe made the concession Monday night, according to CNN Philippines, even though formal results will not be announced until June.

Early exit polls had shown Duterte, the mayor of Davao City, leading with 38.92% of the votes counted, compared with Poe’s 22.14%, according to the Commission on Elections.

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“I congratulate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and I promise to join in the healing of our nation and to unify our countrymen for our country’s progress,” Poe said, according to CNN Philippines. Poe is a popular senator who was challenged over her citizenship.

Earlier Monday, Duterte – who sparked outrage at home and abroad over rape jokes and threats to kill criminals – didn’t appear worried about the election results. He boasted he hadn’t even been following the race and instead had been fast asleep.

“You know, a lesson in life (is) there are things beyond your control,” he said. “You can’t control buying (of votes) and intimidation, we’ll just leave it up to the police,” he told reporters in a mix of Filipino and English.

Voters – 55 million of the 100 million-strong population registered for the pivotal election – braved stifling heat to cast their ballots.

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What’s up for grabs?

Tens of thousands of elected positions are at stake, from the presidency and his or her deputy as well as half the Senate and all of the House of Representatives to a huge number of local posts, ranging from governors and mayors to members of the provincial councils.