‘Pray for me, wish me well’

Marcos proclaimed as PH 17th President, Duterte-Carpio as 15th VP

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he was “humbled” as Congress formally declared him President-elect on Wednesday, then promised Filipinos he would “strive for perfection” as the country’s 17th Chief Executive while asking “all to pray for me… (and) wish me well.”

President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio (below) are proclaimed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco as the duly-elected leaders of the country at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on May 25, 2022. Marcos Jr. was joined by family members Senator Imee Marcos (in green), former first lady Imelda Marcos (back, partly hidden), sister Irene Marcos-Araneta (back, partly hidden), wife Lisa Araneta-Marcos (in blue), and cousin Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez. AFP

With Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, certifying the results of the May 9 general elections after the fastest official counting of votes in the country’s history—done over just two days—Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio were declared President and Vice President, respectively.

“I want to do well because when a President does well, the country does well, and I want to do well for this country,” Marcos, 64, told reporters at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

Following in the footsteps of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., “BBM” garnered more than 31.6 million votes, or 58.77 percent of the total votes cast, according to the official tally of votes by the NBOC from 171 certificates of canvass (COCs) completed Wednesday afternoon.

“I am humbled because for anyone in public service or in a public life, the most valuable you may receive from fellow citizens is their vote because embedded in that vote are their hopes and aspirations for the future,” said Marcos Jr., who went by “presumptive president” for about 16 days before Congress ratified the results of the automated elections.

“Also embedded in that vote are the trust and confidence that they give to you to take them to that aspirational future. And that is why to have received over 31 million votes from our countrymen is as valuable an expression of trust as can be had by anyone in public life,” he added.

A former senator, congressman, and governor of his home province of Ilocos Norte, Marcos Jr. also congratulated all agencies and personnel involved in the electoral process.

“In my experience, [this is] the best-run elections that we have seen and that has truly reflected the voice of the people and the choice of the people,” he said. “I am inspired by this responsibility that has been given to me.”

Officials in Malacanang—the presidential palace where Marcos Jr. practically grew up in, as his father was President from 1965 to 1986—congratulated him and “Inday Sara,” daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, as they were formally proclaimed winners by landslide over their nearest rivals.

“We congratulate Mr. Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. and Ms. Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio on their electoral victory and for their proclamation as President-elect of the Philippines and Vice President-elect of the Philippines, respectively,” said Presidential Communications Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar.

“Today’s proclamation ceremony by Congress marks another historic milestone in our political life as a nation, underscoring that we are, indeed, a showcase and beacon of democracy in this part of the world,” he added.

“As both leaders are about to embark on the responsibilities and challenges of their respective offices, we reiterate our call for our people to stand behind our newly elected leaders,” Andanar said.

He said President Duterte’s office “shall ensure a peaceful, orderly, and smooth transfer of powers to the President-elect as we extend all the necessary support and assistance to various transition activities.”

Marcos Jr. has yet to announce a date for his inauguration, although under the Constitution he is supposed to assume office by noontime of June 30.

Vic Rodriguez, his chief of staff and incoming Executive Secretary, earlier said the Marcos team would only start planning for the President-elect’s inauguration after his proclamation.

Marcos Jr. also said he would seek guidance from another former President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was among a number of officials who greeted the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas candidate at the House of Representatives’ executive lounge where the President-elect waited before his proclamation.

“Congratulations, Mr. President,” Arroyo, who will return to Congress in June as Representative of Pampanga’s second district, told Marcos Jr. in a brief conversation.

The country’s 14th President, Arroyo is also the chair emeritus of Lakas-CMD —the political party of Duterte-Carpio and House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Marcos Jr.’s cousin.

“You have to guide me through this. I’ve never been through this…,” Marcos then replied to “GMA,” who also became the country’s first woman House Speaker for a year, from 2018 to 2019.

BBM then turned to Duterte-Carpio and gave his Vice President a tight hug and asked how she has been doing since they toured the country together and amassed over half of the 55 million votes cast last May 9.

Duterte-Carpio said her opportunity to serve as the second highest leader of the country—after her father steps down following six years at the Palace on June 30—is “dedicated to Kean Gabriel, to Larry, to Jaren, and Frederick and all those who passed because of terrorism, abuse, criminality, and bullying.”

Vice President Sara Duterte is proclaimed by Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto lll (left) and House Speaker Lord Alan Velasco (right) after the canvassing at the House of Representatives. Ver Noveno

“Let’s help each other for one country that is peaceful and united. We all love the Philippines. May God bless the Philippines,” she added.

The joint session of Congress presided over by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III—a far third to Duterte-Carpio in the VP race—and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco approved the report of the joint canvassing committee.

Later, they adopted the separate motions of Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Romualdez to proclaim Marcos and Duterte-Carpio as the winning president and vice president.

The official canvass showed Marcos had 31,629,783 votes, while his closest opponent, Vice President Leni Robredo, had 15,035,773.

In the vice-presidential race, Duterte-Carpio was credited with 32,208,417 votes against Sen. Francis Pangilinan’s 9,329,207.

The joint canvassing committee took just two days to finish tabulating 171 out of 173 certificates of canvass (COCs) from 81 provinces and independent cities, and those containing absentee local and overseas Filipinos’ votes.

The canvass proceeded smoothly and expeditiously, Romualdez reported to the joint session of Congress.

Marcos Jr. was accompanied by his wife, lawyer Liza Araneta-Marcos, son Simon, mother—and former First Lady—Imelda Romualdez Marcos, and his sisters Senator Imee Marcos and Irene Marcos-Araneta.

President Duterte did not attend the proclamation of his eldest daughter, who arrived at the Batasan Pambansa with Macapagal-Arroyo.

Imelda Marcos, now 92, seemed to have all of her ailments disappear as she felt “extra excited” and “so happy” over the victory of her son, Bongbong, in the May 9 polls, Senator Imee said.

Imee also expressed her gratitude for the second chance given to her family to return to Malacañang.

“Of course, my mom is very excited. She’s so happy with all of what’s happening. She’s suddenly able to hear, to walk. All of her ailments during COVID-19 seem to have vanished. She’s very energetic. It’s like she’s no longer 92 but 29,” the senator told reporters.

Romualdez, poised to become the incoming Speaker of the 19th Congress, thanked his colleagues, including senators, and candidates for “a smooth, speedy and transparent canvass of votes” for president and vice president.

He expressed his gratitude to all who participated in the tabulation after the joint House-Senate canvassing committee, which he co-chaired with Zubiri, reported to the two chambers the results of the official count.

At the same time, Romualdez congratulated Marcos and Duterte-Carpio, whom he shepherded during the run-up to May 9 as their chief campaign manager.

“Their overwhelming mandate reflects the people’s desire for unity toward progress and development,” said the Lakas-CMD President.

He thanked Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Senate President Sotto for entrusting him and Zubiri with the mandate to lead the canvass, and Zubiri and members of the joint canvassing panel for working long hours to finish the official count.

Romualdez likewise expressed his gratitude to Robredo and the other presidential and vice-presidential candidates and their lawyers for their invaluable cooperation in the tabulation, which was carried live on social media platforms.

“Their manifestations to no longer challenge the COCs and to recognize the integrity and authenticity of the election results smoothened and expedited our canvass and allowed the canvassing committee to carry out its mandate from the joint session in so short a time,” he said.

They also “reflected a desire on the part of the candidates to put the divisiveness and animosity of the elections behind us, to move on and to give the national healing and unification process a chance,” Romualdez said.

Zubiri, who led the Senate contingent to the National Board of Canvassers, described Marcos and Duterte as “truly rockstars.”

In his sponsorship speech, Zubiri said he was amazed with how people welcomed Marcos and Duterte during their campaign rallies.

“It was the only time I witnessed this kind of welcome by our people for these candidates. In this election, truly Mr. President and Mr. Speaker, President-elect Bongbong Marcos and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte were truly rockstars,” related Zubiri.

The greater task of the victors today, Zubiri said, “is to unite our countrymen for nation building—that begins today.”

Speaker Velasco also congratulated the two leaders whose sweeping electoral victory “is an overwhelming victory for all Filipinos. This is a victory for our democracy.”

“We need a catalyst, and there is no better example than the unifying force that we have seen, and we will see, in a government led by President BBM and VP Inday Sara,” he added.

Romualdez also cited the cooperation extended by officials and personnel of the Commission on Elections “who were able to immediately respond to the directives of the Joint Committee to explain the missing physically delivered certificates of canvass (CoCs).”

He said the concerned provincial board of canvassers, through their Provincial Election Supervisors, were able to explain, before the Joint Committee, through virtual communication, the whereabouts of the CoCs.

The Comelec vowed to look into the cases of missing COCs. Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said that while the matter has been resolved, they will still push through with an investigation.

Comelec Acting Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco likewise apologized to the NBOC “for these unfortunate incidents.”

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