Reuters International

Rodrigo Duterte, 70, seven-term mayor of Davao city, who has built a reputation for fighting crime in the insurgency-plagued southern Philippines, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Manila, Philippines December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Czar Dancel/Files

(reuters_tickers)

MANILA (Reuters) - A tough crime-fighting mayor in the Philippine came out on top in an opinion poll for the second time in two days on Tuesday, less than a month before an election to find a successor to President Benigno Aquino.

Rodrigo Duterte, 71, mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines, has vowed to end corruption and crime six months into his presidency if elected on May 9.

The election is being closely watched by investors, who fear the political succession in one of Asia's fastest growing economies could derail gains made during Aquino's six-year single term.

Duterte was the top choice of 30 percent of 4,000 respondents in the March 29 to April 3 survey commissioned by broadcaster ABS-CBN.

Duterte gained six points from the previous ABS-CBN poll in mid-March.

His tough stand on crime has begun to resonate with many Filipinos.

The former front-runner, Senator Grace Poe, lost three points in the latest poll and dropped to second place with 25 percent of respondents making her their first choice.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and former interior minister Manuel Roxas, who is favoured by the president for the job, remained in third and fourth place with 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

On Monday, a poll by the Social Weather Stations organisation showed Duterte on top with 27 percent of 1,500 respondents. Poe was in second place, losing four points to 23 percent, in that survey.

In power since 2010, Aquino is barred by the constitution from seeking a second term. Under his leadership, the Philippines has seen annual economic growth of more than 6 percent on average, its best five-year record in four decades.

About 54 million people in the country of 100 million are eligible to vote to choose a president, vice president and more than 18,000 local government executives and lawmakers in the elections, which take place every six years.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International