DAVAO CITY— The Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School hardly saw a crowd in its grounds like the one that descended outside Precinct 216 on the afternoon of May 9, election day.
It was like a mob waiting for a rock star. Many of them dressed in red and raising fists and cheers at broadcast cameras, people were jockeying alongside media and police for a view.
Precinct 216, a room labeled Aster (after the flower), was one of 14 clustered voting precincts in the school where 90,000 Davaoeños would vote.
As the noontime heat gave way to afternoon shade, fewer voters came to vote in the precinct. Still, the rush of people who wanted to see the precinct’s most famous voter did not end. The rest of the school gradually emptied, except for the area surrounding the bungalow classroom.
Some had arrived since morning, others after they cast their own votes. They were pointing cell phone cameras at the scene, on themselves, or on familiar faces from the national media, hoping their angle would capture the moment they saw him.
The people here were waiting for Rodrigo Duterte, the man they believed would be president. And as the minutes of that fateful day passed, it was not just in Davao.
Everyone across the nation awaited him.