Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Rodrigo Duterte is the new President of the Philippines, former mayor of Davao, called Digong, who won the presidential elections on May 9 with about 39% of the vote. Duterte succeeds Benigno Aquino, moderate leader, son of former prime minister Corazon. Duterte was mayor of Davao, a city on the island of Mindanao, for 22 consecutive years, distinguishing himself for the fierce fight against crime and drug traffickers through the indiscriminate use of vigilantes and special police forces (the "Death squads") that under his administration killed more than 1,000 "suspicious" people .
His election campaign was characterized by issues of the fight against crime and corruption, but also touched the issue of a possible constitutional reform to allocate more power to the government, compared to Parliament. Duterte was elected thanks to a popular movement, tired of corruption and injustice. In the elections of May 9 more than 18 thousand representatives in the regional and local administrations were also elected.
A few hours before Duterte’s victory was announced, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, promised an attitude of "vigilant collaboration" of the Church with the candidates elected, at all levels. "We will solicit the faithful to work with the government for the good of all, and will continue to be vigilant in order to teach and prophesy, admonish and correct: this is our vocation", said Mgr. Villegas in a note sent to Fides. Addressing the elected, he said: "Your victory does not come from fame or popularity, but from God who calls you at the service and care of the weakest and those in difficulty", stressing that the Church assures them "prayer, mainly for wisdom, so that they can discern the will of God for his people". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/05/2016)