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Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte was elected the Philippine president in May 2016 elections. His six-year term ends in June 2022. The constitution limits Philippine presidents to a single six-year term. Rodrigo Duterte said he will not run for vice president in the country's upcoming presidential election and retire from politics. Duterte had earlier said he would seek to become vice president, as the country's constitution bans presidents from running for reelection after the end of their term. However, on 02 October 2021 he went back on the decision, saying the overwhelming sentiment of the public is that he is not qualified, and that standing for the vice-presidency would be a violation of the spirit of the constitution.

President Duterte compared himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler 29 September 2016. Duterte made the inflammatory remarks in a speech while visiting Davao, one of the biggest cities in the Philippines. He had just returned from Vietnam. "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, what is it, three million drug addicts, there are. I'd be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have (me). You know my victims, I would like (them) to be all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition."

Duterte's comments followed criticism from the European Union and the United States over suspected extra-judicial killings in his crackdown on drug pushers and users. The former mayor had only been president for three months but so far he has presided over a campaign of seemingly indiscriminate violence against suspected drug dealers and addicts. Over 3,100 alleged drug users, addicts and dealers had been killed. Only a third of those killings happened as a result of police operations. The rest were carried out by vigilante groups which were actively encouraged by Duterte. He repeatedly encouraged members of the public to act on their own against drug dealers and promised not to prosecute those who do so.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's stsff expressed regret concerning a comment he made using vulgar language that appeared as a personal attack against US President Barack Obama and the honor of his mother. "Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the U.S., with which we have a long standing partnership," his staff said in a statement.

Duterte warned Obama not to lecture him about his use of death squads against suspected drug traffickers that had resulted in more than 2,000 murdres since he took office in June. "You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions," Duterte said: "Putang ina ["son of a whore"], I will swear at you in the forum", using a Tagalog phrase.

Rodrigo Duterte, whose foul-mouthed, populist campaign earned him both praise and ridicule, was the winner of the 2016 Philippines presidential election. Duterte, who describes himself as a socialist, has said he will be the country's first “Left president.” Despite his 'radicalisms', Duterte in fact had yet to espouse any fundamental shift from the general run of neoliberal economic policy of the past 30 or so years. On the contrary, he promised to expand privatization and deregulation and declared plans for liberalization of trade by allowing the dumping of surplus steel from China.

Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of the southern Philippine city of Davao, embodied the hope of change to many Filipinos. The populist mayor’s single-issue campaign focused on law and order tapped into anxiety about graft, crime and drug abuse, but for many his incendiary rhetoric and talk of extrajudicial killings smack worryingly of the country’s authoritarian past. Duterte's pledge to carry out his agenda even if that required shutting down the legislature also brought back memories of the country's late dictatorial President Ferdinand Marcos who declared martial law in 1972.

“Mr. Duterte’s campaign symbol is a fist — intended for lawbreakers, but seemingly also aimed at the oligarchy,” Miguel Syjuco, a respected Philippine writer, said in an opinion column. He earned notoriety for his crude boasts of sexual escapades, drawing comparisons to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Duterte vowed on 06 May 2016 evening to clean the government, rid it of criminality, suppress drugs, corruption and dared to close Congress and government agencies if they make life difficult for the Filipinos. “I can guarantee you it will be a clean government getting rid of corruption, not asking for years, not asking for a term, not asking you to give me months, but you will feel it when I am given my post... in worst situation, I will close Congress if they cannot deliver to the people the services, serve their interests and welfare they are sworn to serve as the people’s representatives...”

He advocated multilateral negotiations to resolve territorial claims in the South China Sea. Duterte had declared that as president he would ride a jet ski to the contested Scarborough Shoal, plant a Philippine flag and expect to die a hero at the hands of the Chinese.

In a nation where 80 percent of people are Roman Catholic, Duterte called Pope Francis a "son of a bitch" after the pontiff's visit in January caused traffic problems. He also drew criticism from the U.S. and Australian ambassadors to the Philippines after saying he wished he had been first in line in the gang rape of an Australian missionary killed during a Davao jail riot in 1989.

The 71-year-old mayor had been leading most of the opinion polls since April. Some 33 percent of the voters said they would vote for Duterte in the final pre-election survey conducted by Social Weather Station. The country's renowned polling body carried out the survey from May 1 to May 3 through face-to-face interviews with 4,500 validated voters nationwide with a sampling error margin of 1 point. The foul-mouthed candidate is known to have made Davao one of the safest cities in the Philippines through tough regulations and iron-fist approach in crime fighting. During the presidential campaign period, he vowed to wipe out corruption, drugs and criminality in three to six months if he wins the election.

Duterte has been a vocal proponent of the use of violence to rid areas of common crime. The Davao Death Squad, which boosted the popularity of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, has motivated other municipal officials to adopt extrajudicial killings as a crime control method. The arming of civilian left a devastating legacy of vigilantism that for decades, particularly the city of Davao, has not been able to recover from. It was in the urban village of Agdao in Davao City where the vicious vigilante group, Alsa Masa, first took root.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expressed concern in August 2008 that "... despite the fact that there is no longer the threat of communism, vigilante killings take place in Davao City daily on the pretext of the war against criminals. The psyche of the people living there has reached a point where they themselves give ready acquiescence to these death squads to decide on who deserves to die or not effectively leaving the policing, prosecution and the court meaningless. Thus, while Alsa Masa may have ceased to exist the notion and residue of its brutal past remains an insidious disease." The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

His name was often floated as a potential presidential candidate for his seeming ability to solve challenges that stymied other politicians. In February 2014, Duterte told a Senate hearing on rice smuggling in the Philippines that he would “gladly kill” an alleged smuggler who tried to smuggle rice into his city. Instead of criticizing Duterte for suggesting the use of extrajudicial killings, the committee chairperson appeared to express support for Duterte’s “tough” anti-crime measures in Davao City.

Duterte's aggressive behavior and offensive language won him a lot of supporters, but aroused concerns and controversy as well. The outgoing president Aquino has warned repeatedly the risk for the country to fall under a dictatorship if citizens voted Duterte. Analysts warned possible political instability if Duterte became the president as his "revolutionary government" would be most unlikely to get support from the congress.

Rodrigo "Rody" Roa Duterte (born March 28, 1945), nicknamed Digong, was born on March 28, 1945 in Maasin, Leyte in the Philippine Commonwealth to Cebuano lawyer Vicente G. Duterte and Soledad Roa. His father served as the Governor of Davao while his mother was a school teacher. He studied at Sta. Ana Elementary School in Davao and then spent his high school at Holy Cross of Digos.

He was such a problem child that his father exiled him to Digos, Davao del Sur, where he finished high school in Holy Cross of Digos in 1966. Duterte took pride in having been a student of the CPP founding Chairman in Political Thought, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, at the Lyceum of the Philippines in the late 1960s, in becoming an activist of the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal youth organization, Kabataang Makabayan, and in being a long time adherent of the New Patriotic Alliance known as BAYAN. Both Kabataang Makabayan and BAYAN were fierce opponents of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the continuing domination of the Philippines by foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

Duterte graduated law at San Beda College in Manila under Class 1972, and passed the bar examination in the same year. He then had a short stint as lecturer on Criminal Law, Criminal Evidence and Criminal Procedure at the Philippine National Police Academy Regional Training Center XI before joining the government as prosecutor at the Davao City Prosecution Office from 1977 to 1986.

The vicious "vigilante" group, Alsa Masa, first took root in Davao City at this time. In reality, Alsa Masa was a semi-official death squad. The precise relationship between the rise of Alsa Masa and the rise of Duterte is unclear, but they coincided in time, and the one surely was related to the other. In the two years 1986-1988 of the greatest visibility of the Alsa Masa death squad, Duterte rose from a mid-level government lawyer to the mayor of the country's third largest city.

Duterte was then appointed officer-in-charge (OIC) vice mayor and had served as special counsel where he prosecuted cases involving police and military personnel, including subversion and rebellion cases filed against alleged members of the New People's Army (NPA), until he became assistant fiscal after the 1986 EDSA Revolution in Manila - the popular non-violent uprising known as "People Power Revolution" (February 22-25, 1986) that overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of President Ferdinand E. Marcos and installed Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino as President. After the People Power Revolution, Duterte was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor.

In 1988, he ran for mayor and won, serving until 1998. He set a precedent by designating deputy mayors that represented the Lumad and Moro in the city government, which was later copied in other parts of the country. In 1998, because he was term-limited to run again for mayor, he ran for the House of Representatives and won as Congressman of the 1st District of Davao City. In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was reelected in 2004 and in 2007. In 2010, he was elected vice mayor, succeeding his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was elected as mayor. He was never out of politics.

Davao is the Philippines' third largest city. As a mayor, he won the National Literacy Hall of Fame Award for being a 3-time 1st place winner in the Outstanding Local Government Unit (LGU) Highly Urbanized City category.

The City Council amended the City Ordinance No. 1627, Series of 1994, which imposed a probihition on selling, serving, drinking, and consuming liquors and alcoholic beverages from 1:00 a.m. until 8:00 am. Speed limits for all kinds of motor vehicles within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City for public safety and order under Executive Order No. 39 was signed by Duterte. Duterte fight against crime made him more known and earned him more respect as public servant. However, his style in reducing crime in Davao City was criticized by human right groups in spite of significant decrease in crime rate in the city.

There is documented evidence of hundreds of vigilante-style killings of civilians in Davao city since 1998; victims are usually petty criminals and street children; killings are perpetrated in exchange for payment; police fail to investigate these crimes and protect witnesses; and the killings have broad public support.

Key public officials steadfastly denied that vigilante killings occur in Davao city. Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of the outspoken anti-crime Mayor, said the 2009 Human Rights Watch Report on vigilante killings was "exaggerated" and that most murders in Davao were "love triangle" and "revenge killings." She noted the police were doing their job by sifting through records from as long as 10 years ago to reexamine some of these incidents to try to obtain leads. While she stated the issue was being handled appropriately, Sara Duterte has kept her distance from any involvement in the issue.

Rodrigo Duterte is clearly behind a group called the "Davao Death Squad," which has been implicated in hundreds of vigilante-style killings. Duterte's visible rage against criminality and drugs stemmed from family history: one of Duterte's two sons previously abused drugs, and the Mayor channeled his anger over his son's drug use not just against drug pushers, but also drug users, eventually leading him to embrace vigilante killings as a means to reduce crime. The Mayor's tough anti-crime rhetoric became the hallmark of his governance style, and Davao residents perceived a marked improvement in public safety under his tenure, which many thought contributed to improved prospects for economic growth.

The city's government is known to be relatively advanced among large Philippine cities with regard to its economic development policies and public services like housing, drug rehabilitation, and programs for the poor.

Support for the Mayor's overall policies comes from a dynamic cross-section of influential Davao citizens whom the Mayor has recruited as advisors, including the Regional Chair of the Ulamas League and the leader of a prominent and wealthy Protestant sect, among many others. The Mayor's broad base of support ensured his enduring popularity among different constituencies, but he remained ready to counter those who criticize him and opposition to the Mayor among City Councilors, suffering from their own scandals, remains minimal.

While international attention on the killings was elevated as a result of the Human Rights Watch Report, noticeably absent was public outrage among Davao residents. Combined with Mayor Duterte's tight control, this public apathy prevented civil society groups from being more aggressive in tackling the issue. With the police failing to make any progress on investigations, the CHR and civil society groups have become the primary advocates on the issue. The CHR's effectiveness was determined by its ability to cobble together enough witnesses to make strong cases. The CHR, in order to withstand Duterte's anticipated attacks, must also successfully marshal support at the national level from the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police in order to push cases forward to prosecution.

Duterte openly spoke about his desire to change the system of the government to a federal form. Apart from that, he categorically said that if he will become the president and sit in the Malacanang for 6 years, “did my best and would not corrupt or steal money fro the people and leave after six years with the same system of government? I’m not that ambitious nor do I love to boast but if I will be president, after my term is over I will have federalism as the new form of government.”

After a controversial presidential campaign, the 71-year-old saw quick success after vowing to end crime within six months of his ascendance to the presidency by "killing criminals." He repeated his vows at his final rally as runner-up, calling on the electorate to "forget the laws on human rights [...] if I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because as the mayor, I'd kill you." Departing President Benigno Aquino repeatedly warned the country was at risk of becoming a dictator state if Duterte had succeeded.

The revolutionary movement of the people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines or CPP supported the determination of Duterte to fight corruption and criminality and welcomes his vow to declare a ceasefire with the armed revolutionary movement and be the first left president in the history of the Philippines. In this regard, the CPP has urged him to free the hundreds of political prisoners, accelerate the peace negotiations and address the roots of the civil war by adopting basic economic, social and political reforms.

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Page last modified: 28-12-2021 19:22:03 ZULU