Duterte skips barangay elections to avoid straining friendship with candidates

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. PHOTO: ABS-CBN News

While millions of Filipinos were able to vote before polls for yesterday’s barangay (village) elections closed at 3pm, one very important man was a no-show.

The Philippines’s own President Rodrigo Duterte skipped voting entirely, a decision he described as “purely political.”

Seems like he didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the candidates vying for positions, most of whom are his supporters.

“All those who ran are my friends. Almost all were my supporters in the last election and they would never believe that I only voted for them. I think the better option would really be to skip voting. I don’t want them to have doubts,” Duterte said in an interview this morning.

The president also said that he was busy monitoring the elections.

ABS-CBN News reported that Duterte supporters waited outside his polling precinct at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo High School even after they have voted just to catch a glimpse of the president.

The school also prepared the “historical chair” Duterte sat on when he voted during the 2016 presidential elections.

Yesterday was the first barangay (village) elections under the Duterte administration.

The polls were postponed twice in the past two years. It was originally set for October 2016, was rescheduled to October 2017, then rescheduled again for this month.

Duterte was in favor of the postponements, saying he thought drug lords could exert an undue influence on local polls, though he never spelled out precisely how delaying the vote would do anything to change that.

A proposal to push back yesterday’s polls a third time was proposed earlier this year but failed to get the necessary approval from Congress.

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