US congratulates Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – The United States on Friday, May 14, congratulated  president-elect Rodrigo Duterte as well as the Filipino people for the election of their new leaders.

"The United States offers its sincerest congratulations to the people of the Philippines on the conclusion of the May 9, 2016 general elections, and to the presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte," the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement 4 days after the national and local elections.

"The United States looks forward to continuing to deepen our bilateral partnership with the new administration as we address common challenges and issues of mutual interest," it added.

While there is an indisputable winner of the presidential race, the vice presidential race remains tight, with Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo leading by over 200,000 votes against Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr with 95.95% of precincts reporting late Friday afternoon.

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau earlier said that the US is keen to work with the next Philippine leader.

Two weeks before the May 9 elections, Duterte warned he was prepared to cut diplomatic ties with the US and Australia after their ambassadors criticized his joke about the jailhouse rape of a missionary.

He has also expressed openness to bilateral discussions with China on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute, though he later said he would welcome multilateral talks on the sea row involving non-claimants such as the US, Australia, and Japan.

The US Embassy said that the Philippines and the US share "a long and enduring history based on a shared commitment to upholding democratic values and institutions."

"The successful elections in the Philippines, and its record-setting number of voters, are a testament to the Philippines’ vibrant democracy," it said. –