Duterte congratulates Putin on re-election

In this Nov. 10, 2018 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte discusses matters with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the Vinpearl Da Nang Resort and Villas in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Presidential Photo/Albert Alcain, file

Duterte congratulates Putin on re-election

(Philstar.com) - March 19, 2018 - 10:40pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin for his re-election victory and vowed to strengthen the relations between Manila and Moscow.
The Russian leader earned almost 77 percent of the votes while his closest rival, communist Pavel Grudinin, had less than 12 percent.
"As he resumes performance of his duties, President Duterte wishes President Putin more success in leading Russia to greater progress and in advancing the cause of peace and security in our region and in the larger international community," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
Putin's victory in the March 18 elections would allow him to lead Russia for six more years.
"We also look forward to working more closely together to strengthen ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations and to advance our common interests in multilateral fora including the United Nations," Cayetano said.
The relationship between the Philippines and Russia expanded under the Duterte administration. In October 2017, the Russian government turned over military equipment to the Philippine government.
The acquisition of military equipment from Russia came after Duterte sought a loan from Moscow following the halt of a rifle deal with the United States.
Meanwhile, Russian election authorities have annulled voting results in five districts as they investigate ballot stuffing and other problems in the presidential election.
Central election commission chair Ella Pamfilova outlined to reporters Monday authorities' efforts to fight violations and hold a transparent election.
Pamfilova denied any incidents of observers being attacked or blocked from polling stations, despite videos posted online.
She insisted that there were "at least two times fewer" violations than in the last presidential vote in 2012, which was marred by problems.
Observers in this election reported widespread cases of ballot stuffing and voters coerced by their employers to cast ballots. — Patricia Lourdes Viray with Associated Press

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