Photo illustration by Jeff Elkins
In May 2016, Rodrigo Duterte was elected mayor of Davao City in the Philippines. He previously led the organization to end extrajudicial killings, and earned recognition as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in Asia. In early 2017, he was selected to be the next president of the Philippines.
Duterte grew up in a poor and rural environment. After high school, he worked as a cook. In 1975, he earned a degree in engineering from a public high school. He then made a living as a taxi driver and businessman.
What’s his platform?
In a speech in an interview with The Associated Press, Duterte made clear that he was not interested in the causes of inequality, criminal justice and poverty. He said he wanted to implement “slash and burn” policies.
“I will literally kill them. That is my policy. Just knock them out. Left, right, this way, that way,” he said. “And when we are done, just file a report. Because that is my only tool, the report. See, how many people in the streets. How many people in prisons. How many people in jails. I will simply call it whitewash. If you care for your economy, you also have to take care of your people.”
How has he performed as president?
Duterte spent his first days in office making controversial remarks like:
“We have to get rid of all that wallowing in corruption. Kill those corrupt government officials. Kill them on sight.”
“When you mention the Philippines, how is the rest of the world? My people don’t want to hear that.”
What does his national approval rating look like?
In an August 2017 poll, respondents had a favorable opinion of Duterte by a 56 percent margin.
So is he really as immoral as he says he is?
One of the key elements of Duterte’s act was his vow to continue the drug war he started in Davao City. Although there were reports of extrajudicial killings when he was mayor, the president has refused to bring an investigation. Just recently, a high-ranking police official was sentenced to 30 years in prison for taking bribes from police officers connected to the drug war.
In his first speech as president, he said:
“I thought that the argument of being irrelevant or irrelevant is one of the pieces of hair (that) we cut out of our bodies. That we have already lost all our capacity to be judgmental.”
Do police officers and other officials who have accused Duterte of crimes against humanity not deserve to be judged?
Ultimately, Duterte’s personality and actions may be causing a backlash. In March, a report by Human Rights Watch accused him of being responsible for at least 1,000 deaths in the war on drugs.
In the latest presidential news:
Duterte vowed to close all schools in Davao City by the end of the year. In 2017, 40 schools were shut down in Davao. Duterte said in March that closing them would help save lives.