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"Duterte" redirects here. For others with the surname, see .

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In this , the or maternal is Roa and the surname or paternal family name is Duterte.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Tagalog: ; born March 28, 1945), also known as Digong and Rody, is a politician who is the and current and the first from , the southernmost major island group of the country, to hold the office. He is chair of the ruling party. Taking office at 71 years old in June 2016, Duterte is the ; the record was previously held by at the age of 65.

Duterte studied at the , graduating in 1968, before obtaining a degree from in 1972. He then worked as a lawyer and was a prosecutor for , a on , before becoming and, subsequently, in the wake of the . Duterte was among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines, serving seven terms and totaling more than 22 years in office.

Frequently described as a and a , Duterte's political success has been aided by his vocal support for the of and other criminals. Human rights groups have documented over 1,400 killings allegedly by operating in Davao between 1998 and May 2016; the victims were mainly drug users, petty criminals and . A 2009 report by the Philippine confirmed the "systematic practice of extrajudicial killings" by the . Duterte has alternately confirmed and denied his involvement. The closed an investigation in January 2016 stating that they found no evidence that the Davao Death Squad exists, and no evidence to connect the police or Duterte with the killings. The case has since been reopened. Duterte has repeatedly confirmed that he personally killed three kidnapping suspects at a police checkpoint while Mayor of Davao in 1988.

On May 9, 2016, Duterte won the with 39.01% of the votes, defeating four other candidates, namely of the (23.4%), Senator (21.6%), former vice president of the (12.9%), and the late Senator of the (3%). During his campaign, he promised to reduce crime by killing tens of thousands of criminals. His domestic policy has focused on combating the by initiating the . According to the the death total passed 7,000 in January 2017, after which the police stopped publishing data. Following criticism from human rights experts that extrajudicial killings had increased since his election, Duterte and form a new organization with China and African nations. He has declared his intention to pursue an "independent foreign policy", and sought to distance the Philippines from the United States and European nations and pursue closer ties with China and Russia.


Early life

Duterte was born on March 28, 1945, in . His maternal grandfather was a from .[ ] His father was (1911–1968), a lawyer, and his mother, ( Roa; 1916–2012), was a school teacher from , and a civic leader of descent. Duterte's father was mayor of , and subsequently the provincial governor of (the then-undivided) . Rodrigo's cousin Ronald was mayor of from 1983 to 1986. Ronald's father, Ramon Duterte, also held the position from 1957 to 1959. The Dutertes consider the Cebu-based of the Durano and the Almendras clan as relatives. Duterte also has relatives from the Roa clan in Leyte through his mother's side. Duterte's family lived in Maasin, and in his father's hometown in Danao, until he was four years old. The Dutertes initially moved to in 1948 but still went back and forth to the Visayas until 1949. They finally settled in the in 1950. Vicente worked as a lawyer engaged in private practice. Soledad worked as a teacher until 1952 when Vicente entered politics.


Duterte went to Laboon Elementary School in Maasin, for a year. He spent his remaining elementary days at the Santa Ana Elementary School in , where he graduated in 1956. He finished his secondary education in the High School Department of the then Holy Cross College of Digos (now ) in today's city of in the now defunct , after being expelled twice from previous schools, including one in due to misconduct. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in at the in Manila. He obtained a law degree from in 1972. In the same year, he passed the bar exam. Duterte eventually became Special Counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City from 1977–79, Fourth Assistant City Prosecutor from 1979–81, Third Assistant City Prosecutor from 1981–83, and Second Assistant City Prosecutor from 1983–86.


Duterte has said that he was when he was a minor. After he was challenged by the (CBCP) and AdDU officials to name the priest and file a case against him, Duterte then revealed the priest's name as Fr. Mark Falvey, SJ (d. 1975). The confirmed that according to press reports in the United States, in May 2007, the Society of Jesus agreed to a tentative payout of USD16 million to settle claims that Falvey sexually abused at least nine children in from 1959 to 1975. Accusations against Falvey began in 2002, and he was never charged with a crime. Additionally in May 2008, the paid 0,000 settlement to a person allegedly raped and molested by Mark's brother, Fr. Arthur Falvey. However, it was not clearly indicated in the report if Mark Falvey was assigned at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao. When asked why he did not complain when the abuse supposedly happened, Duterte claimed that he was too young to complain about the priest's abuse and was intimidated by authorities at that time. He also stated that he never disclosed that information after he was expelled and moved to a different high school and especially not to his family.

Shooting of student at law school

Duterte stated at a rally in April 2016 that he shot a fellow student who had bullied him about his Visayan origin as well as other students of the same ethnicity, while at San Beda law college. He said "But the truth is, I'm used to shooting people. When we were about to graduate from San Beda, I shot a person." Duterte said that he shot the student in a corridor at the college when the said student called him names again. He later told a reporter that the student survived, but refused to answer any further questions about the incident.

Mayor of Davao City

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Then Mayor Duterte (left) with then President during a meeting with local government unit leaders in Davao City in 2013

After the 1986 , Duterte was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor by president . In 1988, he ran for mayor and won, serving until 1998. He set a precedent by designating deputy mayors that represented the and peoples in the city government, which was later copied in other parts of the Philippines. 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 (under the coalition). In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was re-elected in 2004 and in 2007.

In 2013, Davao City sent rescue and medical teams to to give aid to the victims of , locally known in the country as Typhoon Yolanda. Financial assistance was also given to and for the earthquake victims.

Then newly-elected Davao City Vice Mayor Duterte reading his inaugural speech in June 2010

In 2010, he was elected vice mayor, succeeding his daughter, , who was elected as mayor. He has been offered the post 4 times, by presidents , , , and but rejected all of them.

Duterte also passed the city's Women Development Code, which aims "to uphold the rights of women and the belief in their worth and dignity as human beings". Duterte banned swimsuit competitions in beauty pageants in Davao City. Duterte also gained prominence for supporting the first-ever Village inside a jail facility which is only located in Davao City. It is a home-type jail with ten cottages built inside the compound, which now serve as home for women inmates.

Law and order

Davao has the highest murder rate, the second highest rape rate, and the fourth highest number of index crimes in the country, according to official police raw data for the years 2010 to 2015. Nevertheless, Duterte claims that the city is one of the world's safest, a narrative that gained currency in the national media, creating a widespread public perception that has been a significant factor in establishing support for his .

is illegal. In Davao, by city ordinance, police ensure that prostitutes have a valid health card, but do not arrest them. In 2010, the Philippine Child Protection Unit stated that Davao was one of the top five areas for and in the Philippines. Jeanette Ampog, the executive director of , a Davao-based that helps prostitutes, said in October 2016 that child prostitution had sharply increased over the past two years. She said that children were cheaper and more marketable. Nevertheless, the city was awarded "Most Child-Friendly City for Highly-Urbanized Category" in 1998, 1999, 2013 and 2014.

Through the support of Duterte, the City Council amended ordinance No. 1627, Series of 1994, to impose a prohibition on selling, serving, drinking, and consuming alcoholic beverages from 01:00 until 08:00 each morning. Executive Order No. 39 was signed by Duterte, reducing the speed limits for all kinds of motor vehicles within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City in the interest of public safety and order. Duterte also signed Executive Order No. 04, Series of 2013 to impose an order creating the implementing of rules and regulations for the new comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance no. 0367-12, Series of 2012. Davao City's was also implemented with ordinance No. 060-02/1406-02, Series of 2002 by the City Council through the support of Duterte.

Another known accomplishment was that the City Government of Davao was able to acquire 10 more ambulances for intended for medical emergencies and 42 new mobile patrol vehicles and motorcycles for the Davao City Police Office (the first and only 9-1-1 in which is also free of charge). Duterte, through Executive Order No. 24, ordered all shopping malls and commercial centers to install, operate and maintain high end and high definition closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all entrance and exit points of their premises.

In 2015, Davao City is among the local government units awarded with a "Seal of Good Local Governance" by the .

Davao Death Squad

Duterte speaks with Davao City residents in 2009.

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Further information: , and

We're the ninth safest city. How do you think I did it? How did I reach that title among the world’s safest cities? Kill them all [criminals].

— Duterte, May 15, 2015

Duterte, who has been dubbed "The Punisher" by magazine, has been linked by human rights groups such as and to of over 1,400 alleged criminals and by . In the April 2009 UN General Assembly of the Human Rights Council, the UN report (Eleventh Session Agenda item 3, par 21) said, "The Mayor of Davao City has done nothing to prevent these killings, and his public comments suggest that he is, in fact, supportive." Human Rights Watch reported that in 2001–2002, Duterte appeared on local television and radio and announced the names of "criminals", some of whom were later executed. In July 2005 at a crime summit at the , Duterte said, "Summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs".

Duterte has denied responsibility for the extrajudicial killings. He has also frequently announced his support for them. According to Reuters, "Duterte's loud approval for hundreds of execution-style killings of drug users and criminals over nearly two decades helped propel him to the highest office of a crime-weary land." In 2009 Duterte said: "If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination." In 2015, Duterte confirmed his links to extrajudicial killings in Davao, and warned that, if elected president, he may kill up to 100,000 criminals. After the said confirmation, Duterte challenged human rights officials to file a case against him if they could provide evidence to his links with vigilante groups.

Federalism advocacy

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In September 2014, Duterte and former mayors and governors, calling themselves the Mindanao Council of Leaders, advocated for a federalist government. A month later, Duterte attended an event sponsored by the Federal Movement for a Better Philippines in . In December 2014, Duterte held a summit entitled Mindanawons Forging Unity Toward a Federal System of Government.

2016 presidential campaign

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Duterte–Cayetano 2016 campaign logo

As early as the first quarter of 2015, Duterte made hints to the media of his intention to run for president in the 2016 elections. However, he denied these plans numerous times amidst clamor from his supporters for him to run.

In January, Duterte said he would abolish Congress if he chose to run for President and was elected. On November 21, in a private gathering with fraternity brothers from , Duterte formally announced his presidential bid and also finally accepted 's offer to be his running mate, and named his daughter, Sara Duterte, as his substitute for Mayor.

In his campaign, he said he would introduce a federal parliamentary form of government. He also promised to kill tens of thousands of criminals and eradicate crime in six months.

Constitutional reform

Rodrigo Duterte campaigned for and a shift to federal government during the 2016 presidential election. In an October 2014 forum organized by Federal Movement for a Better Philippines in prior to joining the presidential race, the then-mayor of Davao City called for the creation of two federal states for as a solution to the problems besetting . Mayor Duterte said that and his don't see eye-to-eye with the which the administration of President had inked a peace deal with. He also said that the "template of the is federal," but what is granted to the Bangsamoro should also be granted to other Moro groups and other regions in the country. In a dialogue with the prior to the elections, Duterte said he is open to "toning down the Constitution" in order to accommodate more foreign investors to the Philippines. He also said he is open to up to 70 percent foreign ownership of businesses in the country and foreign lease of lands up to 60 years, but will "leave it to Congress to decide."

Rape comments

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At a campaign rally on April 12, 2016, Duterte told supporters that, as Mayor, he thought he "should have been first" to rape Jacqueline Hamill, an Australian missionary who was and killed during the . He recalled examining her corpse:

When the bodies were brought out, they were wrapped. I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful American actress. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to my mind was, they raped her, they lined up. Was I angry because she was raped? Yes, that's one thing. But she was so beautiful, I think the mayor should have been first. What a waste.

After being condemned for his comments, Duterte later apologized for the incident and acknowledged the comment as a "bad remark" saying he regretted his "gutter language" but would not apologize for being misinterpreted. He insists though that the remark was not a "joke" as reported by some media outlets, saying that he stated it in a narrative. He further said that he was not apologizing for stating the remark reasoning that he made the remark out of "utter anger" when he recalled the events. He threatened to sever diplomatic ties with the US and Australia, if elected, after their ambassadors criticized his comments.

His daughter subsequently announced on social media that she was a , but would still vote for her father. He said that he doubted her story, jokingly referring to her as a "drama queen".

2016 Philippine electoral vote results

Human rights

In a campaign speech on April 27 to business leaders, he said his presidency would be "a bloody one", but that he would issue "a thousand pardons a day" to police and soldiers accused of human rights abuses, and would also issue a presidential pardon to himself for mass murder at the end of his six-year term.

Election to the Presidency

On May 30, 2016, the proclaimed Duterte as the after he topped the by the for the with 16,601,997 votes, 6.6 million more than his closest rival, . representative on the other hand, was proclaimed as the with 14,418,817 votes, narrowly defeating Senator by 263,473 votes.


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The Presidency of Rodrigo Duterte began at noon on June 30, 2016, when he became the , succeeding .

At the age of 71, Duterte became the oldest person ever elected to the presidency. Duterte is also the first local chief executive to get elected straight to the Office of the President, the second to become president (after ), the third -speaking president (after Osmeña and ), the first from and the fourth Visayan overall (after Osmeña, and Garcia).

A survey conducted from July 2–8 showed that Duterte had a trust rating of 91%, the highest of the six presidents since the dictatorship (the previous highest was Duterte's predecessor, with 87%). One year after taking office his trust rating was 81%. Shortly after his inauguration on June 30, Duterte held his first Cabinet meeting to lay out their first agenda, which included the country's management, decongesting the in Manila, the country's main gateway, and expressed his ideas and concerns regarding the prior to the announcement of the verdict of the over the issue, which the Philippines later won. Four days later, on July 4, Duterte issued his first entitled "Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals", allowing his , , to supervise over several agencies that focus on . On July 23, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 2 also known as the .

On August 1, 2016, Duterte launched a 24-hour complaint office accessible to the public through a nationwide complaint hotline, , while also changing the country's from 1-1-7 to , which was first instituted in Davao City.

On August 7, Duterte approved the of former President at the in scheduled for October 18, saying that Marcos was qualified for the burial at the cemetery due to him being a "former president and a soldier". The decision was vehemently opposed, due to "the brutal, oppressive and corrupt nature of Marcos's two-decade regime." An online petition which received over 30,000 signatures stated:

Burying Ferdinand E Marcos alongside our nation's heroes who fought for our freedom is an affront to the thousands of lives tortured and murdered during his reign. Laying him to rest at the Heroes' Cemetery is a disdainful act that will send a message to the future of our nation—our children—that the world we live in rewards forceful and violent hands.

Following the that killed 14 people in the city's central business district, on September 3 Duterte declared a "state of lawlessness," and on the following day issued to officially declare a " on account of lawless violence in Mindanao". The (AFP) and the (PNP) were ordered to "suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao" and to "prevent lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere". Executive Secretary said that the declaration "[did] not specify the imposition of curfews" and would remain in force indefinitely. He explained: "The recent incidents, the escape of terrorists from prisons, the beheadings, then eventually what happened in Davao. That was the basis."

In December 2016, Duterte was ranked 70th on . On December 7, Duterte signed creating a consultative committee to review the 1987 . Duterte signed imposing a smoking ban in public places on May 16, 2017. In the same month, the Duterte administration began to implement the . During his presidential campaign and transition, Duterte called for the reimposition of in the country to execute criminals involved in "heinous" crimes, such as , insisting on .

While adjusting to working and residing at the , Duterte divides his workweek between Manila and Davao City by spending three days in each city, utilizing the while in Davao.

Domestic policy

Anti-drug campaign

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Duterte presents a chart which he claims illustrates a drug trade network of drug syndicates, on July 7, 2016.

After his inauguration, Duterte spoke to journalists in , where he urged Filipino citizens to voluntarily kill drug pushers and addicts. A day after his inauguration, Duterte requested for the , the armed wing of the , to "disarm and arrest" drug lords.

On July 5, 2016, Duterte revealed the names of five police officials who were allegedly involved in illegal drug trade. On July 7, during a press conference, Duterte presented a chart identifying three Chinese nationals who serve as in the Philippines.

The published a "kill list". Representative Teddy Baguilat urged the to investigate the "spate of extrajudicial killings and/or summary executions of suspected violators of laws on illegal drugs and other suspected criminals". Senator and former urged Duterte's administration to cease the extrajudicial killings and said that she would file a resolution for the to conduct an investigation. The militant group also asked Duterte to investigate the increasing number of extrajudicial killings. The Duterte administration demanded critics to provide evidence.

Duterte has justified the drug war by claiming that the Philippines was becoming a "". According to the , the prevalence of drug use in the country is lower than the global average. Duterte has dismissed human rights concerns by drug users, stating in August 2016: "Crime against humanity? In the first place, I'd like to be frank with you. Are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?" In the first three months of Duterte's term in office, according to police figures, over 3,000 killings were attributed to his nationwide anti-drug campaign. More than half were attributed to vigilantes. At the beginning of October, a senior police officer told that ten "special ops" official police death squads had been operating, and that he had personally been involved in killing 87 suspects. He described how the corpses were dumped at the roadside ("salvage" victims), or had their heads wrapped in masking tape with a cardboard placard labelling them as a drug offender, so that the killing would not be investigated. The chairman of the , , was quoted in the report: "I am not surprised, I have heard of this." The declined to comment. The report stated: "although The Guardian can verify the policeman's rank and his service history, there is no independent, official confirmation for the allegations of state complicity and police coordination in mass murder."

Capital punishment

During the , Duterte campaigned to restore the death penalty in the Philippines. Duterte, who won the election in May 2016, supports restoration of the death penalty by hanging. It has been reported that he wants capital punishment for criminals involved in , gun-for-hire syndicates and those who commit "heinous crimes" such as , or car theft where the victim is murdered. Duterte has theatrically vowed "to litter Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals." In December 2016, the bill to resume capital punishment for certain "heinous offenses" swiftly passed out of Committee in the ; it passed the full House of Representatives in February 2017. However, the law reinstating the death penalty stalled in the Senate in April 2017, where it did not appear to have enough votes to pass.

Mindanao insurgency

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Duterte welcomes Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad following his release from captivity.

Nur Misuari's wife Tarhata Misuari received help from Duterte when he interceded on their behalf after the Duterte has said that Moro dignity is what the MILF and MNLF are struggling for, and that they are not terrorists. He acknowledged that the Moros were subjected to wrongdoing, historical and in territory.

Duterte was endorsed in the election by (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari due to his background in Mindanao. was his second choice. Other Muslims also supported Duterte and denounced Roxas, the Aquino-supported pick.

During the Mindanao Hariraya 2016 convention in Davao City on July 8, 2016, Duterte vowed to address the Moro conflict and bring peace in Mindanao, assuring the community that "something will change" before the end of his term. He said that the (MILF) and the (MNLF) both support his proposal for , which he says is the only solution to the Bangsamoro peace process. Duterte said that if the proposal for the country's shift to federalism fails or is not desired by the Filipino people, he will vow to pass the , which would establish the . He also added that the Basic Law should benefit both MILF and MNLF, saying he is willing to negotiate with both secessionists to initiate a "reconfiguration" of territory.

A crowd of Muslims were attending the speech by Duterte where he accused America of bringing terrorism to themselves, saying that terrorism is not the result of the Middle East. He railed against the actions undertaken in the Middle East by the USA. Duterte blamed the war on Mindanao on colonialist Christianity being brought to the Philippines in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, saying there was peace before that and that they were made to fight their "Malay brother" by Christians.

Duterte meeting with chairman, founder and former ARMM Governor , November 3, 2016

The inflicted upon the Moros was mentioned by President Duterte to criticize the United States and its President . The massacre was cited a second time by Duterte in criticizing America while calling for the exit of American troops.

On November 6, 2016, Duterte signed an executive order to expand the to 21 members from 15, in which 11 will be decided by the MILF and 10 will be nominated by the government. The commission was formed in December 2013 and is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law in accordance with the

The MNLF and MILF both count some of Duterte's relatives in their ranks. Criminals were treated ruthlessly by Duterte, while the MILF, MNLF and NPA have received sympathetic treatment from him. Duterte attacked terrorists and criminals and said there would be no ceasefire for them, while other groups like the MNLF, MILF, and NPA all received a ceasefire from Duterte over the December holiday in 2016.


The , an ISIS-inspired terrorist group, had reportedly been able to establish a stronghold in Lanao del Sur since early 2016. The group had been blamed for the and two attacks in , a town located south of Marawi, in 2016. Before the Duterte administration, the Philippine government had downplayed the threat of ISIS in the Philippines. Even after the with the Maute group, then-President discounted the possibility of the Islamic State's presence in the country. He said that those behind the attack were just mercenaries wanting to be recognized by the Middle East-based terror group.

In November 2016, President Duterte confirmed the Maute group's affiliation with the Islamic State. Amidst on November 30, 2016, Duterte, in a command briefing in Lanao del Sur, warned the Maute group: "Ayaw ko makipag-away sa inyo. Ayaw ko makipag-patayan, (I do not want to fight with you. I don't want us killing each other) but please, do not force my hand. I cannot be forever traveling here every month para lang makipag-usap (just to talk), at pagtalikod ko patayan na naman (and when I turn around, there's killing again). I do not want to mention anything, but please do not force my hand into it." On December 2, 2016, as the military regained control of Butig, the retreating Maute fighters reportedly left a note threatening to behead Duterte.

On May 23, 2017, clashes between and militants affiliated with the (ISIL), including the and groups erupted in the city of Marawi.

On the same day, Duterte signed declaring a 60-day in Mindanao following between the AFP and the in , . He said that the implementation is similar to and expressed the possibility of extending the scope of the martial law nationwide if deemed necessary.

The became the longest in the modern history of the Philippines.

According to the Philippine government, the clashes began during an offensive in Marawi to capture , the leader of the ISIL-affiliated group. A deadly firefight erupted when Hapilon's forces opened fire on the combined Army and police teams and called for reinforcements from the Maute group.

Maute group militants attacked Camp Ranao and occupied several buildings in the city, including Marawi City Hall, , a hospital, and the city jail. They also occupied the main street and set fire to , Ninoy Aquino School, and Dansalan College, which is run by the (UCCP). The militants also took a priest and several churchgoers hostage.

The stated that some of the terrorists were foreigners who had been in the country for a long time, offering support to the Maute group in Marawi. Their main objective was to raise an ISIS flag at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol and declare a or provincial ISIS territory in Lanao del Sur.

The fighting lasted for five months until October 17, 2017, the day after the deaths of militant leaders and . President Duterte declared Marawi as "liberated from terrorist influence". This was followed by another October 23, 2017 pronouncement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that the five-month battle against the terrorists in Marawi had finally ended.

Communist insurgency

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In July 2016, Duterte directed his peace process advisor for the CPP–NPA–NDF rebellion, , to lead a government panel in resuming peace talks with the (CPP), the (NPA), and the (NDF) in , Norway, expressing hope that a between the rebellions would be reached within a year. The first talks began on August 22–26, 2016, in which the parties agreed upon "the affirmation of previously signed agreements, the reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which 'protects the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel involved in peace negotiations', and the accelerated progress for negotiations." In February 2017, due to recent attacks and kidnapping of soldiers by members of the NPA despite the imposed ceasefire by the government and the rebel groups, President Duterte cancelled all negotiations with the CPP–NPA–NDF and labeled them a . He also ordered the arrest of all NDF negotiators. Military offensive against the group resumed after Duterte's cancellation of ceasefire.

Foreign policy

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The Duterte administration has vowed to pursue an "independent foreign policy" that would reject any meddling by foreign governments, reiterating , Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution which states: "The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national , , , and the right to ." In September 2016, Duterte said: "We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principle of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference and the commitment of peaceful settlements of dispute that will serve our people and protect the interests of our country."

Duterte made his first international trips as president to , and , on September 5–9, 2016.

China and Russia

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Following his inauguration as president, Duterte mentioned his willingness to "reorient" his foreign policy towards China and Russia, particularly in the areas of trade and commerce. During an interview with , he expressed his willingness to conduct joint with China and Russia. In September, Duterte said that he is considering purchasing military equipment, particularly weaponries and armaments, from China and Russia to strengthen the capabilities of the in addressing insurgency and counter-terrorism, saying that deals between the Philippines and the two countries are already in discussion and that the Chinese and Russian governments have offered the Philippines that would be payable in 2025.

On October 18–21, 2016, Duterte visited to meet with Chinese officials, including and . While announcing his "separation" from the United States in front of Chinese and Filipino businessmen at the Philippines–China Trade and Investment Forum in Beijing on October 20, Duterte also said that he would realign himself with the Chinese ideological flow and that he might also travel to Russia to meet with to "tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines, and Russia."

On November 20, 2016, Duterte met with Putin during the sidelines of the in , . Duterte has praised Putin's leadership skills and called him his "idol". Putin also invited Duterte to visit . Duterte said that he would visit Moscow on May 25, 2017, where a defense cooperation agreement between the Philippines and Russia is expected to be finalized.

During an interview with in November, Duterte said that the Philippines is "not ready" for with China and Russia due to the signed between the Philippines and the U.S.; however, he clarified that the Philippines could seek stronger diplomatic cooperation with China and Russia, as well as other countries, "to make the world more peaceful." Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev expounded on Duterte's statement by saying that the Russian government is offering a with the Philippines, not a military alliance, and added that Russia does not believe in establishing military alliances with Asia. However, Khovaev explained that the Russian government is open to assisting the Philippines in purchasing .

On May 1, 2017, following a visit to three at the , Duterte expressed interest in conducting joint military exercises between the Philippine Armed Forces and China's in Mindanao, particularly in the .

Territorial disputes

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Duterte meeting with Japanese Prime Minister , September 6, 2016

On July 12, 2016, the tribunal in announced its ruling in favor of the Philippines in filed under the administration in 2013 against China on issues regarding the under the provisions of the , including the latter's claim which the tribunal ruled had no legal basis. Three days after, during a testimonial dinner in , Duterte asked former President to lead the Philippine envoy to for bilateral negotiations with China over the disputes. Ramos accepted the offer on July 23, but resigned on October 31. During his first on July 25, Duterte said that his administration "strongly affirms and respects" the ruling and would use it as a guide to negotiate for a resolution on the territorial disputes. Duterte prefers to discuss the issue quietly and directly with China and has vowed not to raise the issue before the . Duterte said "he would not want to antagonize China" and would want to "maintain good relations with China" to "create an environment where we sit down and talk directly."

On October 12, Duterte declared his intention to terminate joint US–Philippine naval patrols in the South China Sea, which he believes could needlessly antagonize China. His reticent approach with China contrasts with his otherwise "belligerent rhetoric and swaggering persona"; he has received support for some political ads from an anonymous Chinese donor.

On October 20 in Beijing, Duterte and agreed to resume direct talks on the dispute.

When then U.S. Secretary of State-designate threatened China's positions on the islands, the Philippines said that Tillerson was speaking for the U.S. only in the U.S.'s interest and prerogatives., Duterte's Defense Secretary, rejected the possibility of war against China over the islands in the South China Sea.

Duterte and South Korean President at the Blue House in Seoul on June 4, 2018.

On April 6, 2017, Duterte ordered the to occupy and fortify at least nine uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. He announced plans to visit the Philippine-administered during and raise a there. Duterte also ordered the to build structures on the in order to reassure the Philippines' sovereignty over the undersea region, following the sighting of Chinese . He also announced plans to rename the Benham Rise to the Philippine Ridge. On April 12, Duterte canceled his plan to visit the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, citing goodwill and friendship with China. On April 21, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the allocation of ₱1.6 billion to develop the Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, despite rejection from the . The development of the island is expected to include the construction of a marine , beaching facilities, a radio station, an , and a , as well as the improvement of the Rancudo airstrip runway. On May 16, 2017, Duterte signed an executive order formally renaming the Benham Rise to the Philippine Rise.

In February 2018, the published aerial surveillance photos of Chinese military fortifications in the South China Sea which showed runways, hangars, control towers, helipads, radomes and multi-storey buildings on reefs across the region, described by the newspaper as "island fortresses". The photos, which were mostly taken in late 2017, were authenticated by the , which described them as "the most complete, detailed batch of aerial pics available", and stated that the "photos show China is nearly done with its militarization of South China Sea". Duterte's spokesman told reporters: "[The region has] long been militarized. And the question is, what can we do?" - which led to accusations of dereliction of his "sacred core duty" of defending Philippine territory.

United States

See also:

Duterte with then U.S. Secretary of State , July 26, 2016

On September 12, 2016, Duterte said that he is "not a fan of the Americans" and that he wants to "reorient" foreign policy with the United States. He requested that in Mindanao should leave the Philippines, specifically those who are part of the , saying that it would "inflame the situation with the ." Duterte said on September 13 that he does not plan to cut ties with the United States, but wants to reiterate the administration's pursuit of an "independent foreign policy" in accordance with the Constitution; the administration will continue to honor mutual agreements like the and the . On September 20, Duterte said: "I never said get out of the Philippines, for after all, we need them there in the China Sea. We don't have armaments."

On September 27, Duterte vowed not to allow the U.S. government to interfere with the policies of his administration. He criticized the U.S. government for "lecturing" his administration on amidst their campaign on illegal drugs and said that he will " with the U.S." Duterte added that he plans to forge "new alliances" with China and Russia in trade and commerce. deputy spokesperson Mark Toner responded to Duterte's criticisms by saying that the Philippine–U.S. relations could still remain "strong and unabated" despite Duterte's criticisms. The following day, while addressing the Filipino community in , Duterte said that the and the joint naval patrols in the South China Sea between the Philippines and the U.S. in October would be "its last" in order to avoid provoking conflict with China.

Duterte with then U.S. Secretary of State , August 7, 2017

On October 5, Duterte accused the U.S. of refusing to sell armaments to the Philippines and said that he would rather purchase armaments from China and Russia. In an attempt to repair relations with the U.S., Duterte's Defense Secretary, , said Duterte was "misinformed" about the U.S. alliance: "Maybe, the defense ministry and the armed forces were remiss in providing him the correct information."

On October 6, Duterte's then-Foreign Secretary denounced the idea of the Philippines being regarded as a "little brown brother" by the U.S. Yasay said that the Philippines had been "failed" by the U.S.

On October 20, while on a trip to , Duterte declared a "separation" from the United States which he stated had lost militarily, socially, and economically, and emphasized a realignment of the Philippines to move closer to China. During a press conference after arriving from Beijing, Duterte clarified that what he meant by "separation" was a "separation of a foreign policy" and not a severance of diplomatic ties, saying that it would not be feasible to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. due to the large number of . U.S. Department of State spokesperson responded by saying: "We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from the U.S.; it's not clear what that means and all its ramifications." On October 23, traveled to Manila to seek clarification and explanation for Duterte's comments with Philippine officials, including and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Duterte with U.S. President in Manila, November 13, 2017

On November 7, Secretary Lorenzana clarified that the joint Balikatan exercises will continue along with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, but the exercises between the and the would be discontinued. He specified that bilateral drills on , , , , and will remain, all of which have been approved by Duterte.

Following the , Presidential Communications Secretary offered "warm congratulations" to on his election victory. He said that Duterte "look[ed] forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law." While in , Duterte personally congratulated Trump by greeting him "" and expressed hope that the would honor obligations and treaties signed between the Philippines and the U.S. On December 2, Duterte called then President-elect Trump to personally congratulate him once more and invited him to visit the Philippines for the in 2017, while Trump invited Duterte to visit him in and after the former's . On April 29, 2017, President Trump called Duterte to inform him of his planned visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit. Trump also extended an invitation to Duterte to visit him at the . During their call, Duterte urged Trump to show restraint in dealing with over their , warning him that the region could suffer "immensely". Trump also praised Duterte's drug war during the call, telling him "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem".


Duterte joins other heads of states, holding hands as a symbol of unity in , , September 7, 2016.

Duterte has placed great importance on the Philippines' diplomatic relations with its ASEAN neighbors. Following tradition, his first trips outside the country were to Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, and Singapore.

In 2017 the Philippines was chair and host to the , a series of diplomatic conferences centering on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The culminating event was held in Manila on 10–14 November (31st summit). It was attended by ten Asean leaders.

Economic policy

Early in his term, Duterte's expletive-laden outbursts triggered the biggest exodus from stocks in a year and made the peso Asia's worst performer in September 2016. The Philippine currency was at a seven-year low and rounding out its worst month since May 2010. In the same month, the Philippine peso completed its biggest monthly decline since October 2000 amid the biggest outflow from the nation's stocks in a year. According to the Philippines' Finance Secretary , the peso’s slump this year is "mainly due to a deteriorating trade outlook because of rising imports of capital goods, which is normal for a country that is growing very fast." Currency strategists have, however, "predicted a rebound once investors see beyond Duterte’s words."

After 100 days in office, former president , a political ally-mentor of Duterte said that "Duterte has been a huge disappointment and letdown" and "the government was losing badly by prioritizing a war on drugs at the expense of issues like poverty, living costs, foreign investment, and jobs". Based on subsequent surveys conducted by the , optimism in the economic prospects under the Duterte administration remains "excellent" with more Filipinos believing that the quality of their lives will improve in the next 12 months. This is supported by polls conducted by one year after Duterte took office, wherein approval (82%) and trust (81%) ratings for Duterte still remain very high.

Duterte's verbal attacks especially to the US and EU are viewed by many Filipinos as a threat to their jobs especially those working for foreign companies. Mark Williams, chief of Asia economist at Capital Economics, said, "Certainly, investors are worried by some of the things he's saying, he's really unnerved people". The Philippine government, however, expects that employment, especially in BPO industries, will continue to keep on rising. Despite Duterte's bluster and the messy local politics however, the long-term view for the Philippine economy looks good and has even pessimists conceding that gross domestic product should grow close to 7% over the next three to five years. “Twin catalysts of infrastructure spending and tax reform will drive the market over the next two years,” Dante Tinga, head of research at BDO Nomura in Manila, tells Barron’s. “There’s an investment boom under way, which I believe will help in rerating the market over the next 12 months.”

In December, government data revealed that the Philippines' output of nickel ore fell 16 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, after the country, which is the world's top supplier of the metal, suspended some mines in a clampdown on environmental violations. Production dropped to 19.8 million tonnes in the nine months to September from 25.97 million tonnes a year ago, according to the data. According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, the "Philippine economy is delivering the performance we anticipated, notwithstanding the political noise and a significant terrorist event in Mindanao." Dominguez gave the assessment during the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Presidential immunity

On November 7, 2016, Senator , Duterte's chief government critic, filed a Supreme Court writ of against Duterte, testing the doctrine of presidential immunity, claiming "The verbal attacks on petitioner's womanhood and threats on her person are not covered by presidential immunity from suit because they are not the official act of a President". The 20-page writ asked, "Can a sitting President wage a personal vendetta against petitioner and use the resources of his powerful office to crucify her as a woman, a human being, and a duly elected senator in violation of her right to privacy in life, liberty and security?" De Lima's counsel, dean , said "Immunity cannot be used to block this case. There is a blatant violation of the magna carta for women, code of conduct for public officials. We hope the Supreme Court will listen to the plea of Senator de Lima and give consideration to this petition because we believe it is of groundbreaking importance".

Duterte had repeatedly criticized De Lima for an alleged adulterous affair with her driver and her alleged "propensity for sex". He said in August 2016 that she was an "immoral woman" who had no right to criticize the extrajudicial killings because she had "a very sordid personal and official life". She was subsequently removed from her position chairing a Senate committee investigating the killings, and was then forced to leave her home out of fear for her safety. The writ cited several cases of Duterte admitting that he wanted to drive her to suicide. De Lima demanded to know which foreign country had assisted Duterte in his surveillance of her private conversations, as he had claimed, and how it was carried out.

Presidential spokesperson said that "Senator Leila de Lima is apparently playing the gender card as a shield against mounting evidence of her ties with high-profile drug lords and the ". Chief Presidential Legal Counsel said that "the president is immune from suit but even if he is not, the petition has no basis in fact nor in law".

Duterte had already made light of the fact of his capacity to give presidential pardons, even with presidential immunity, when he vowed to pardon himself the moment he became president during the 2016 campaign:

"Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte"

—  to businessmen, 2016 Presidential Campaign

Public image

Rodrigo Duterte developed a reputation as a "protector" and "saviour" in his hometown of as Mayor of the city for more than two decades. This is despite reports of death squads in the city.

Rodrigo Duterte has been described as a with his foul-mouthed remarks against the country's elite which positioned him as a "man-of-the-people" as critical to his win in the 2016 presidential elections. He has also been compared to US President for his rhetoric style.


See also: and

Ardent supporters of Duterte have been labeled as the "Duterte Diehard Supporters" alternatively known as the "Digong Duterte Supporters" which shares the accronym with the (DDS). This label has been applied to the 16 million people who voted for him during the 2016 presidential elections.

Several other Facebook groups with the acronym "DDS" supported Duterte as early as 2011. Among these groups is the Duterte Defense Squad which was created on July 5, 2011. Other examples include the Digong Duterte Supporters-Registered Nurses Group, Duterte’s Destiny is to Serve the Country, Digong Duterte Swerte, and the Davsur Duterte Supporters. In 2015, members of the various groups urged Duterte to run for President.

Controversy and criticism

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Human rights concerns

In early September 2015, an infamous incident was reported of a tourist being forced to swallow his own cigarette butt in a local bar in Davao City after the tourist refused to comply with the public anti-smoking ordinance of the city. Duterte was personally contacted by the bar owner and went into the bar and forced the tourist to swallow his cigarette butt. Duterte was then met with criticisms especially from the .

Referring to the arrest of a suspected rice smuggler, Duterte spoke out in the state senate saying, "If this guy would go to Davao and starts [sic] to unload (smuggled rice)… I will gladly kill him." For these comments, Duterte was attacked in an editorial in , which condemned "the mentality of lawlessness and vigilantism." The newspaper argued that this culture of impunity enabled those in power, including officials, "private warlords and businessmen vigilantes" to take retribution against those they felt had acted against their interests: "They kill journalists exposing corruption and human rights activists exposing abusive police and military men." Following Duterte's comments in relation to killing a person suspected of smuggling rice, the office of the President of the Philippines issued a statement saying, "Killing a person is against the law. The President has been firm in the belief that no one is above the law. We must not resort to extralegal methods."

In October 2016, the French newspaper depicted Duterte as a “serial killer president,” pertaining to the spate of drug-related killings in the Philippines. The newspaper report drew condemnation from the Filipino community in France. Presidential Spokesperson said in a radio interview that the newspaper's presentation of Duterte as a serial killer was "very unfair" and "irresponsible" while DILG Secretary stated that the description was "too much" and noted the lack of understanding over the administration's war on drugs. As 2016 concluded, the (OCCRP) nominated Duterte as a runner-up in their 2016 Person of the Year Award that "recognizes the individual who has done the most in the world to advance organized criminal activity and corruption". The OCCRP panel members who recognized Duterte noted his use of "death squads to slaughter drug dealers (and users)", with some panelists comparing his use of vigilante groups to those of the 2016 Person of the Year Award winner, Venezuelan president . In 2017, the investigative journalists' network has named Duterte Person of the Year in Organized Crime.

Duterte has consistently voiced his grudge against the Commission of Human Rights, much to the dismay of various human rights groups and advocates. He had also threatened the abolition of the constitutionally supported institution. Under Duterte's first year, Budget spending for the Commission of Human Rights was cut by 72.9 million PhP; Duterte's allies in the congress even insists that the said agency deserves zero budget. The 2018 budget for the CHR was set to ₱1,000 (US) by Duterte's allies in the congress, which was lauded by Duterte stating that they had it coming due to CHR's chairman being a "yellow" ( affiliated) and speaking out against Duterte's War on Drugs. Not contented with his insults against Gascon, Duterte has also accused Gascon of being a pedophile for caring so much about the deaths of minors. Duterte also stated that the CHR aligned themselves with his political enemies, stating that there are crimes against children happening everyday but the CHR only focuses on the crimes of his administration. The CHR budget was restored by the Senate after thousands of Filipinos have expressed their outrage and dismay against Duterte and his allies in the social media and on the streets.

On August 16, 2017, Duterte made another scathing remark against the Commission on Human Rights, threatening them with violence for their probes.

One of these days, kayong human rights, kayong imbestigahan ko. Conspiracy. If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them. (One of these days, when I investigate the people from the commission of human rights and find out that they're conspiring against me... if they are obstructing justice, you shoot them .)

— Rodrigo Duterte to his security forces

Duterte's statements against the CHR came a few weeks after he threatened to bomb the indigenous schools which he accused of indoctrinating children with communist ideology.

Many have expressed criticism of Duterte's stance against Human Rights, but Duterte believes that the number of deaths due to extrajudicial killings and summary executions are a measure of his success in his war against drugs.

"There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that's good. Let's kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country."

— Duterte

Duterte firmly believes that killing criminals is not a crime against humanity.

"When you kill criminals that is not a crime against humanity. The criminals have no humanity. God damn it! Marami pang patayan to. Lumalaban talaga yan. (There will be many more killings. They are really fighting back). It will not end tomorrow for as long as there is a drug pusher and drug lord!"

— Duterte to the press

Following the death of Kian de los Santos, a minor allegedly executed by policemen under the admin's , United Nations special rapporteur had implored Duterte to make de los Santos' death the last. Duterte had responded by severely cursing Callamard and taunting her to come to the Philippines.

"Son of a bitch! tell her! Don’t try to scare me! Son of a bitch! She’s a fool! Where is that fool from?! What is her nationality?! Make her come here! Tell her to look at the situation! This is the Republic of the Philippines, not a territory of France! She’s a fool! She’s not listening to what I’m saying!"

— Duterte to reporters, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Callamard had previously opined that de los Santos was murdered by the police after a CCTV recording revealed footage of policemen dragging an unarmed boy against his will, contrary to the local police officers' claims that the boy fought back with a gun. Callamard tweeted her statement in response to Duterte's blasé speech admitting that Kian was indeed murdered, a week after Kian's death. In a previous speech, Duterte had told policemen to shoot suspects who resist arrest, and even joked that "if they don't resist, make them fight back".

Yes, Pent Duterte, this is murder. All unlawful deaths must be investigated. To stop all murderers

— Callamard, Callamard's twitter post

During his diatribe against Callamard, Duterte had accused France of having a policy of "guilty until proven innocent", an erroneous assumption which the French embassy corrected later on. France is among the (UNHRC) members which expressed serious concerns over the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Representatives from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Peru recommended to the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with President Duterte's war on drugs. The concerned member states include Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Vatican City, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Duterte had vowed that Kian would not be the last, after cursing Callamard again. Duterte stated that there will be more victims killed for the sake of ending the "drugs problem". Barely a month after Kian's death, it was followed by the deaths of Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman who were all minors found to be murdered by gunshot wounds. Duterte had stated that it was not state policy to kill drug suspects. Duterte also expressed ridicule at allegations that they were killed similarly to Kian. Duterte rebuked the media, saying "how could he kill them, when one of them is even a relative". Duterte also claimed that the slaying of the minors is done in an attempt to discredit the PNP and undermine his war on drugs.

"Sabihin pa, ‘O, last na itong kay Kian ha? ‘Pag meron pa…’ Puta! (She said “Kian should be the last… if there’s another one…" Bitch!). Who are you to say that?! Kaya bitch sabi ko (That's why I called her a bitch)"

— Duterte talking about Callamard,

Callamard had stated that her official visit to the Philippines to engage Duterte is not possible due to the pre-conditions imposed by Duterte's admin to force her to engage in a public debate. Callamard had repeatedly refused Duterte's taunts for her to engage him in "public debate", saying that her visit should not be for "entertainment".

1) Citing December 2016 OHCHR statement 2) An official visit without respect for the victims, respect for the law, respect for due process would be unacceptable. 3) An official visit is not a vehicle for entertainment, theatrics or politicking.

—  to Duterte,

The (HRW) had called the first year of Duterte in office as a human rights calamity. The HRW estimates that there has been 7,000 extrajudicial killings from the day Duterte first took office to January 2017. The Duterte administration suspended the drugs war by February 2017 in an effort to cleanse the police ranks, also halting the disclosure of figures on deaths related to drug arrests and raids. In March 2017, the HRW released a special investigation and report on the state of police related shooting, titled "License To Kill". The New York Times had also released a video documentary "When A President Says I'll Kill You", which depicts Duterte's war on drugs through a local photographer's eyes. On August 17, 2017, HRW called Duterte a threat to the human rights community after Duterte made threats against human rights activists. As of August 2017, human rights groups and activists had claimed that more than 13,000 people had been killed in extrajudicial killings including those they believed the government had executed such as Kian de los Santos, contrary to government figures which estimated it to be only around 3,000.

On May 8, 2017, Jude Sabio, the lawyer of , filed a case against Duterte in the (ICC). An online petition for the ICC to investigate Duterte for advocating shoot-to-kill orders had been filed in only three months after he started to serve as president, following the drastic increase in vigilante killings and Duterte's advocacy to kill drugpushers.

Following the , Foreign Secretary , who represented Duterte who deliberately decided not to attend it, states that it scored a big victory claiming that the UNHRC "overwhelmingly adopted Manila’s human rights report card.” The however states that these claims are nothing more than "doublespeak" that serves to deliberately mislead people to think that the Duterte admin is serious about human rights. The Philippines did not accept 154 recommendations of other UN member-states, including a condition-less visit for UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard and a thorough investigation of the deaths in connection with the war on drugs.

Rape comments

Duterte had again made another remark regarding rape when he rallied the troops during the war against the in Marawi.

"Just do your job. I will take care of you. I will go to jail for you. If you happen to rape three, I will own up to it. If you marry four, you will beaten []."

— Duterte to soldiers

Malacañang had defended Duterte's remarks, claiming that it should not be taken seriously because it is due to heightened bravado. Several public officials expressed their distaste for the remark, including a committee member who quit the council out of sheer disgust. Women's rights groups protested Duterte's statements claiming that rape is a heinous crime and should not be joked about, even alleging that the Maranao refugees in the evacuation camps were being threatened with rape by soldiers who were encouraged by the President.

expressed her disapproval of Duterte through social media, to which Duterte defended himself saying that he was being "sarcastic" when he made the remark. Displeased with her comments, Duterte launched a verbal tirade against Clinton by bringing up the , in which her father, former U.S. President , was involved.

"When your father was screwing and the rest of the young girls there in the , on the table, on the floor, on the sofa, did you raise any criticism?"

— Duterte to Chelsea Clinton

In a speaking engagement, Duterte stated his views on rape. He stated that what he did not like the most was having children raped by their attackers, however if the victim was a "Miss Universe", he would give him a free pass but the rapist should know he'll be killed afterwards.

"What I don’t like is for children to be raped. If you mess up with a Ms. Universe contestant, maybe I would even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know that you are going to die"

— Duterte to diplomats

During the second time that Duterte visited Marawi, he also made a remark on using "starlets" to reward the soldiers for their valor, much to the hoots and the laughter of the soldiers.

"For certain, those qualified for a Medal of Valor, I’ll give one. If there are many of you, we’ll just pick lots. The consolation prizes will be the starlets I will bring. The trip to Hong Kong, that’s free. If you want to bring a partner or wife … If you don’t want, just point to the starlet you want and let’s talk to her."

— Duterte to soldiers

It is well known that Duterte and his allies have been using sexy starlets, performers, and actresses in their rallies and protests to entertain their followers.

In August 2018, Duterte's home province of Davao had the highest number of reported rape cases. Duterte responded by joking that Davao has "many beautiful women", which explains the high rate. His comments were defended by his daughter, , who asked his critics "What have you done for Davao?. Presidential spokesperson also defended his comments, saying "it's more liberal in the South".

International stage

In 1995, after , a Filipino, was executed in after confessing to a double murder, Duterte, as Davao City mayor, allegedly burned a (though this claim was later denied) and joined 1,000 employees of Davao City in protest.

Duterte has been accused by his critics in the media of having a "dirty mouth". He had, however, promised to behave in a "prim and proper" manner on the national and international stage once he was to be inaugurated as President, to the point that, "almost, I would become holy."

In July 2016, Duterte accused the and the of importing to the Middle East through its interventions, saying: "The U.S. destroyed the Middle East. ... Great Britain and the U.S. will not admit that they forced their way to Iraq and killed Saddam. Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria."

In August 2016, Duterte was criticized after he made a comment (using a Tagalog language slur) about the US Ambassador to the Philippines , stating "As you know, I'm fighting with (US Secretary of State 's) ambassador. His gay ambassador, the son of a whore. He pissed me off." Duterte added: "He [Goldberg] meddled during the elections, giving statements here and there. He was not supposed to do that." The U.S. State Department summoned the Filipino chargé d'affaires Patrick Chuasoto to discuss Duterte's comments. Duterte refused to apologize.

In the same month, human rights experts called for an end to extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers, about 900 of whom had been executed since the May election, accusing Duterte of "incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law". In response, Duterte threatened to and form a separate organization with China and African nations. He announced in a news conference on August 19: "You now, United Nations, if you can say one bad thing about me, I can give you 10 [about you]. I tell you, you are an inutil ("useless" in Filipino street language.). Because if you are really true to your mandate, you could have stopped all these wars and killing [in Syria and Iraq]." Asked about possible repercussions, he stated: "What is ... repercussions? I don't give a shit to them." He said that the UN had acted against protocol: "You do not just go out and give a shitting statement against a country."

In his speech at the , Duterte criticizes U.S. President for planning to discuss the Philippine Drug War.

At the 2016 , Duterte and planned to meet with each other. The United States said that President Obama planned to discuss the 2,400 Filipinos who died during Duterte's war on drugs. Duterte criticized the planned topic of the meeting, saying, "I am no American . I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum." The vulgar insult prompted the to cancel the meeting instead. During a press conference at the in China, President Obama discussed the cancellation of the meeting, saying: "I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting, that it's actually productive and we're getting something done." Obama and Duterte later met informally.

On September 30, 2016, Duterte appeared to compare the killings of suspected drug addicts to the saying: " massacred three million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts. ... I'd be happy to slaughter them." His remarks drew international outrage particularly from the Jewish Communities. president Ronald S. Lauder condemned the statement, as did the . also condemned his remarks while the German government slammed Duterte's comments as unacceptable, and called in the Philippine ambassador to the Foreign Ministry over the matter. On October 2 he apologized to the Jewish community. When listening to the full conference, he was in fact referring to the accusation of genocide by lawyers of the European Union who wanted him to face the International Court of Justice and, as Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella explained, that it "was an oblique reflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, a label he rejects".

Duterte and Indian Prime Minister in January 2018

In September 2016, Duterte said that the United States has not even apologized to the Philippines for its atrocities during the . In October 2016, Duterte continued his tirade against the US and the European Union saying in Tagalog that "Mr. Obama, you can go to hell. EU, better choose purgatory. Hell is already full. Why should I be afraid of you?"

Duterte's constant cursing had local officials worried that the Philippines would lose foreign aid from the United States and European Union. He responded that “If you think it is high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it. We have a problem here trying to preserve our society" he said. The President continued that he would “be the first to go hungry. I will be the first one to die of hunger". Local actress responded in Tagalog "First of all, no one's trying to fight you. As a matter of fact, you're the one who's picking a fight. Secondly, the country where you are elected as President by 16 million out of 100+ million is Third World. You talk as if the Philippines is a superpower. Excuse me, we don't want to go hungry. If you want, you do it yourself. Leave us out of it. So many people have nothing to eat, and yet you'll starve us even further". Her sentiments were echoed by Senator adding that "if the economy worsen, the entire Filipino people will be affected, they will go hungry as well".

Former president Fidel Ramos on his resignation as special envoy to China stated that he did not like Duterte's treatment of US president Barack Obama and lambasted the administration on its refusal to ratify the which was later agreed by Duterte.

During the in Peru, President Duterte skipped two major events due to jet lag. In a press conference at his office in Makati, Former president Ramos hit the absence of Duterte at the APEC gala dinner and the shoot for the leaders’ traditional family photo. Ramos said that while Duterte and his Cabinet may have thought that the two events are negligible, it could have disappointed the host country. “Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski must be very disappointed,” Ramos said. He said the gala night could have been an opportunity for Duterte to exchange ideas with world leaders and sickness is an unacceptable alibi to skip such an important gathering.

In January 2018, Duterte revealed that he advised 's to 'ignore human rights criticisms on Rohingya issue'. In April 5, 2018, Duterte recognized the existence of a against the .

Catholic Church

Duterte has referred to the as "the most hypocritical institution", after the president released a indirectly referring to Duterte as a "morally reprehensible" candidate who has shown "scant regard" for the rights of others and the teachings of the Church, urging Filipino Catholics to not vote for him. Unlike many prominent politicians, Duterte has spoken in favor of birth control, LGBT rights, and reimposition of the which was abolished by President , a devout Catholic, during her second term in 2006. Upon being elected, Duterte called local bishops "sons of whores", and said he would expand family planning, which the Church had been opposed to. The Catholic Church in the Philippines had lost much of its popularity and political power since being active in overthrowing . Antonio Contreras, a political science professor at in Manila, said that Duterte's attacks on the Church were likely to prove popular.

Duterte was accused of having referred to as a "son of a whore" during the because it caused , though he immediately apologized publicly, explaining he wasn't using these words in regards to the Pope but rather a rant to the government's way of preparing the Pope's visit. On December 4, 2015, Duterte, along with his executive assistant , visited and talked with Romulo Valles and Bishop George Rimando, together with Monsignor Paul Cuison to get lectured on Christian Values. Duterte committed to lessen his profanity in public gatherings and even assured that he would donate ₱1,000 to Caritas Davao every time he swears in public. He also stated that he will be planning to visit the at a later time. Duterte however canceled his planned trip and instead wrote a letter to Pope Francis dated January 21, 2016. During a campaign rally in , Duterte's camp showed the letter coming from the Vatican's Secretariat of State, signed by dated February 24, stating that Pope Francis had received his letter and that the Vatican appreciated Duterte's apology after allegedly cursing Pope Francis in public. In January 2017, Duterte wrote a personal letter to Pope Francis, expressing his gratitude during his papal visit in the Philippines and his "highest esteem and respect" for the pontiff.

On August 28, 2016, , the Archbishop of Manila, acknowledged that people were right to be "worried about extrajudicial killing". He said that it was equivalent to abortion, "unfair labor practices", "wasting food" and selling illegal drugs, explaining that these are all "form[s] of murder". On August 31, in a speech before a gathering of a religious group in Davao City, Duterte said that he once considered being a priest: "It's good I didn't join the priesthood," said Duterte, "or else now I would be a homosexual."

Views on media killings

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, with 174 assassinations recorded since the Marcos dictatorship. In a press conference on May 31, 2016, Duterte said that "Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won't be killed if you don't do anything wrong." He appeared to announce his support for killing "corrupt" journalists: "Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you're a son of a bitch".

At the press conference where Duterte announced this, he at a female journalist ( of ) when she asked a question. At a news conference on the following day he defended his comments and refused to apologise, telling reporters, "I cannot protect you". He has been criticized by foreign and domestic media organizations regarding his comments. The Southeast Asia representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists said: "What he has done with these irresponsible comments is give security officials the right to kill for acts that they consider defamation. This is one of the most outrageous statements we have ever heard from a president in the Philippines."

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of the Center for Media Freedom, stated in October 2016 that major newspapers and television stations have not critically analyzed Duterte's policies, because "they fear him. They basically are afraid to be singled out."

Despite his rocky relationship with the media, Duterte's first Administrative Order was the creation of a Presidential Task Force on Media Security, whose main task is conduct an inventory of cases of media killings, including unsolved cases, cases under investigation, cases under preliminary investigation, cases under trial, and cases under appeal, and "to put an end to all forms of political violence and abuses of powers against members of the fourth estate." In the first year that Duterte took office, four journalists were killed, all critical of his administration..

Personal killings

Duterte has repeatedly admitted to killing three people while he was the Mayor of Davao. In December 2015, Duterte recounted shooting three gunmen dead only months into his first mayoral term in 1988 after they had kidnapped and raped a Chinese girl. He justified his actions, saying "they were committing a crime in my presence and I was the person in authority under the law". In an interview with BBC on December 16, 2016, he said: "I killed about three of them, because there were three of them. I don't know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies. It happened, and I said, I cannot lie about it".

On December 14, 2016, Duterte gave a speech to business leaders in the presidential palace where he spoke of personally killing suspected criminals as Mayor of Davao to set an example for local police. He said, "In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys that if I can do it why can't you. And I'd go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also."

War on Drugs

Further information:

Despite constant criticism of his war on drugs, Duterte had staunchly defended his administration efforts at getting rid of "filth" from the streets. Duterte had even called an "idiot". This was after he read Gaviria's opinion that was published in The New York Times. Gaviria claimed that Duterte is simply repeating his mistakes during his term as president when he used heavy-handed means in Colombia's war against drugs. Duterte said Gaviria was “lecturing” and the Philippine case was different to Colombia.

Various international publications and media companies had claimed that Duterte's "War on Drugs" was a war against the poor due to the abject poverty of those arrested or killed. In 2017, the investigative journalists' network reported that "Duterte has overseen the killing of more than 7,000 and possibly as many as 12,000. The statistics are hard to pin down because Duterte’s National Police suppress all critical reports. And police are spared from any accountability or legal consequences for a campaign that has left bodies in the streets."

On August 18, 2017, Duterte admitted his mistake in trying to end drugs in six months, and it would take him his entire term to end it. Duterte stated that he had no idea when he took office that Philippines had become a failed state, having been degenerated into a . He blamed the whose people he thought were loyal to him. He also blamed the governors, mayors and policemen who were involved in drugs and threatened to have them killed. The Duterte administration had been using a "narco-list" which Duterte shares with the mass media to warn public officials allegedly involved in the drug trade to surrender. Duterte claims to have received several death threats because of his campaign against drugs. Unfazed by these, Duterte stated that he welcomes all attempts to kill him.

In September 2017, Duterte's son, was implicated in a ₱6.4 Billion drugs smuggling case and was accused by Senator Trillanes of being a member of a Chinese Triad based on "foreign intelligence". Duterte reacted to this by urging soldiers to have a gun duel with Trillanes. Duterte also accused Trillanes of having several offshore accounts that was used for his "dealings" with China, showing bank account numbers in national television which had been circulating in social media. In response to this, Trillanes signed several bank waivers allowing anyone to investigate these alleged offshore accounts, which Duterte's camp dismissed, stating that those were joint accounts. Duterte also refused to sign a bank waiver after Trillanes dared him to do the same. To clear his name and disproved Duterte's allegations against him, Trillanes personally traveled to Singapore to the banks which he allegedly have an offshore account in. Accompanied by journalists and reporters, he enquired bank tellers for these alleged offshore accounts, which was revealed to be non-existent. Duterte admitted that he merely invented those bank account numbers to "entrap" Trillanes, but did not state how Trillanes was "entrapped". Afterwards, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to kill his children if they're caught being involved in drugs. Duterte states that showing his children's corpses to his critics will silence them for good.

Several senators have implored the public to express more outrage at Duterte's War on Drugs.

Personal life

Duterte is known for being an avid fan of but detests luxury cars. He once owned a second-hand and currently a . He was once a habitual , but he eventually quit after a doctor's suggestion due to health concerns. Duterte is an avid reader of and novels. Duterte is also known for his straightforward and vocal attitude in public especially in interviews, showing no hesitation in using profusely live on-screen on numerous occasions despite formal requests by media groups and schools beforehand to abstain.

Duterte has his own local show in Davao City called Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa ("From the Masses, For the Masses") aired as a on . He is also a member of , a fraternity based in the and the .

Aside from his native , Duterte is also fluent in and .


Duterte's children (from L-R): Sebastian, Veronica, and escort their father (center) to his , June 30, 2016 Duterte with Avanceña along with their daughter, Veronica

Duterte was once married to , a flight attendant who hails from Davao City and is of descent who also traces her roots in . They together have three children (from eldest to youngest): ("Pulong"), ("Inday Sara") and Sebastian ("Bastê"). Paolo and Sara ventured into politics while Baste, with no interest in politics, concentrated on business and surfing. Paolo married twice, first with Lovelie Sangkola whom he had separated with, and second with January Navares-Duterte, his current wife. Sara is currently married to a fellow lawyer while Baste has two kids: a daughter with a former girlfriend and a son with current girlfriend Kate Necesario. In 2012, Duterte made a notorious remark in a media interview regarding an incident where Paolo's name was allegedly linked to a carnapping ( of car and ) syndicate led by Ryan Yu. Duterte is infamously quoted as having said: "Kill my son Paolo if he is involved in crime." Paolo was never charged for lack of evidence and eventually won the Davao City vice mayoralty in 2013. Duterte's father Vicente died in 1968 while his mother Soledad died on February 4, 2012, at the age of 95. Zimmerman was diagnosed with in 2015.

Duterte has been publicly very open about his infidelity and philandering while married to Zimmerman and cited it as the reason for his failed first marriage when asked in interviews. In 1998, Zimmerman filed a petition with the in to nullify her marriage. Duterte never appeared in court and did not contest Zimmerman's petition. Two years later, the court decided in her favor, ending the 27-year marriage of Duterte and Zimmerman. Duterte and Zimmerman have been on good terms in recent years with Zimmerman stating, "Yes, [Rodrigo] is really a very good leader. That is all he is. But when it comes to family, he is not capable of taking care of it." In 2001, Zimmerman eventually ran for a seat on the city council but lost. Duterte and Zimmerman are said to have patched things up and appear to be civil to each other, 15 years after their marriage was declared null and void. Zimmerman eventually joined the campaign trail for Duterte's presidential candidacy in early 2016 called Byaheng Du30 in which she would travel by bus to major cities together with her daughter Sara and a number of delegates.

Duterte is currently living with his Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña, a nurse, with whom he has one daughter named Veronica ("Kitty"). Duterte has eight grandchildren, half of whom are Muslims and the other half Christian.


On his paternal side, he shares familial ties with some of the prominent families of the Visayas, particularly the Almendrases & Duranos of .


Despite being raised as a communicant of the , on January 19, 2016, while meeting with businessmen in , Manila, Duterte clarified that he has not attended for quite some time already since he deemed it incompatible with his mayoral responsibilities: "If I listened to the or to the priests" said Duterte, "I would not be able to do anything as a mayor". He then clarified that he still believes in God, but not in religion. On June 26, 2016, Duterte said he's , but also said that he believes "in one god ".

In July 2018, he called himself "spiritual" and expressed his belief in "one Supreme God", but stated he "can't accept" Catholicism or organised religion.


Duterte has , an inflammation of blood vessels, mostly in the limbs, and , wherein esophageal cells are gradually replaced by gastrointestinal cells. He has denied rumors of .

Prescription drug use

Duterte admitted in December 2016 that he had been a user of the addictive drug . He said that a doctor prescribed the drug to alleviate back pain and headaches, but that he would take more than he was prescribed: "I was only given a fourth of [the whole patch], but no more, because, of course, my doctor learned that I was using the whole patch because I felt better". Fentanyl is described by the US as "a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to but is 50 to 100 times more potent". Duterte later denied that he was a drug addict, and a spokesman stated that he was not affected by side-effects of the drug, which include confusion, anxiety and .

Duterte has "bragged about his -fuelled serial adultery", drawing criticism from the . He told supporters at a rally in 2015: "When I was young, I could do overnight, which is more expensive. When I got old, I could do short time only because I have such a short time left. After one erection, that’s it. No more. Without Viagra, it’s even more difficult." Despite one of its representatives Luz Ilagan once stated that the people should focus on his track record and not on his womanizing ways, GABRIELA national chairperson Emmi de Jesus reiterated its stance against Duterte.

Honors and awards

These are the list of honours and awards conferred to President Rodrigo Duterte.

  • Knight Grand Cross of Rizal

See also


  1. ^ Brothers Facundo & Severo Duterte both married women from Danao; Severo's daughter Beatriz married post-War business magnate Ramon M. Durano, Sr. Their descendants constitute the modern-day political family of the Duranos of . Ramon M. Durano, Sr.'s sister Elisea married Paulo Almendras, and their descendants constitute the modern-day Almendrases of Cebu. One of their descendants, is a former .


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