President Rodrigo Duterte did not vote in the barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) elections on Monday, May 14. On Tuesday, the president explained why he went straight to the Davao International Airport for his flight to Manila instead of going to the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School (DRANHS) in Davao City to cast his vote.
“Lahat ‘yung tumakbo, kaibigan ko (All the candidates are my friends) , almost all were my supporters during the last election. They would never believe that nagboto ako o hindi sa kanila (I voted for them or not.)” President Duterte told reporters in Taguig City during his visit to the wake of the late former Senator Edgardo Angara.
“To erase all suspicions in the minds of people who really helped me along the way, sabi ko ‘ay ‘wag na lang, hindi na lang ako pupunta. Yon ang totoo, iwas na lang ako. (I said it would rather not go there [and vote]. That’s the truth. I just wanted to avoid [suspicions].” The tough-talking chief executive added, explaining why he decided not to vote.
According to local election officers in Davao City, President Duterte was assigned to vote at precinct No. 1245A in DRANHS, where he was supposed to use the same historical wooden arm chair he used when he cast his vote in the 2016 presidential elections. The precinct was closed at 3 pm, as the voting time ended.
It can be recalled that President Duterte had postponed the local elections twice. Originally, the local elections were set for October 31, 2016, but he signed Republic Act (RA) 10923, re-scheduling it to October 23, 2017. But in early October, the president signed RA 10952, once again re-scheduled the local polls to May 14, 2018.
Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said that President Duterte did not commit any offense when he decide not to vote. “Voting is not mandatory so it’s up to voters if they want to vote or not,” she said in a statement. However, she still urged the public to exercise their rights to vote, as a chance to express their decision in the community.