DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Surrounded by security personnel, President Rodrigo Duterte voted in the 2019 midterm elections at around 4:40 pm on Monday, May 13.
He was accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña at his polling precinct at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City.
Duterte arrived at the school at around 4:30 pm. After greeting officials at the entrance, he proceeded directly to his polling precinct.
Precinct staff assisted him as he had his fingertips scanned. He and Honeylet bantered with the staff, mentioning how his Buerger’s Disease has blurred his fingerprints and how this had made finger-scanning a bit trickier for him.
Buerger’s Disease is a rare condition associated with smokers. It involves the constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs, blocking blood flow. This leads to damaged or destroyed skin tissue in the arms and legs, particularly in the hands and feet.
Duterte held a slim paper guide listing candidates he would vote for.
Media coverage for the occasion was restricted as the Presidential Security Group and Malacañang media relations staff were determined to keep Duterte safe.
In 2016, when Duterte, then a presidential candidate, cast his vote, a surge of people had caused a stampede within the school.
In the 2018 barangay elections, Duterte did not vote. (READ: Duterte: Skipping barangay elections ‘purely political’)
There’s a lot at stake for Duterte in the midterm elections as it will determine the composition of the House of Representatives, and more critically, the Senate, in the last half of his term.
Duterte is counting on allies in both chambers to pass his priority legislative agenda. Congress will decide whether or not to extend martial law in Mindanao, kickstart constitutional amendments toward a federal system of government, and reinstate the death penalty.
The President officially endorsed 11 senatorial candidates. His daughter, Sara, widely seen as his proxy, endorsed 13 senatorial candidates. (READ: Koko Pimentel dropped from Hugpong ng Pagbabago sample ballot)
Sara had voted in the same precinct as her father’s but on Monday morning.