President Rodrigo Duterte (Presidential Photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed hope his successor would serve the Filipino people with "all [his] heart."

"Sana 'yung manalo (To the winning candidate), whoever will come out, you have my congratulations well in advance. I am hopeful that you will serve the Filipino people with all your heart and ability and prioritize the welfare of the general public above everything," Duterte said in a taped Talk to the People delivered Wednesday night but aired Thursday morning.

Duterte made the statement, as he acknowledged there are already "clear" winners in this year's elections.

He enjoined his fellow Filipinos to accept the leading candidates, especially the presumptive President-elect, "whoever they are."

"I thank and congratulate the Filipino people. You made the elections successful because you have made your will known by performing your sacred right and duty to vote," Duterte said. "Welcome the new president, kung sino man iyan, sa Malacañang (whoever he is, to Malacañang)."

Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. continues to lead the presidential race, getting 31,091,482 votes, according to the partial and unofficial tally of votes released by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

Marcos retained a wide lead, more than double, over his closest contender Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo who earned 14,815,276 votes.

Duterte was elated that the conduct of the May 9, 2022 national and local elections turned out to be peaceful.

He was also convinced that there was no electoral fraud that happened, even though the country seemed to have achieved the record for the fastest electric vote count this year.

"Our generation is very lucky. We are in a situation where the electronics ruled the day and we have an election that was madali ‘yung counting (is easier to count votes). Then the transmission of everything that is needed to complete the election processes [is] almost over," he said.

Duterte lauded the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the swift transmission of the election results.

He also thanked the poll workers and volunteers for their participation in ensuring the orderly conduct of elections.

"It was generally peaceful. I thank and congratulate the Comelec, our teachers, the military and the police and the civil society sector and of course, the thousands of volunteers for all the work and handling participation in the conduct of this year's elections," Duterte said.

Duterte expressed optimism that the electoral outcomes, including the proclamation of winning candidates, "will end in a very correct manner." (PNA)