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6 Questions You're Too Afraid To Ask About Duterte

Profiling the no-nonsense Davao City mayor and Philippine politics' man of the hour.
by Rampador Alindog | Dec 9, 2015
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After much anticipation, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has finally declared his intention to run for president in the upcoming 2016 national elections.

In an episode of his weekly television program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa that aired on Nov. 22, Duterte said, "The possibility of running (for president) is on the table now."

His statement could be construed in many ways, but as the man himself stressed in a video posted on's Twitter page, "Yes. That's it on the table. It's a matter I've decided."

Apparently, the change of heart was prompted by the Senate Electoral Tribunal's (SET) decision to deny the petition for disqualification against Sen. Grace Poe.

"I cannot accept the decision of the SET. I studied the law for four years and I do not accept the decision of the senators who decided without legal basis as against the decision of the SC (Supreme Court) justices," he said.

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Duterte then made formal his decision by personally filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) on Nov. 27 at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

Of course, we all know now how Poe's COC has since been cancelled by the poll body due to her supposed failure to meet citizenship and residency requirements.

But the die is cast. There's no stopping Duterte now.

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If anything, he promised to withdraw his candidacy only if asked by the Pope, following a "cursing" issue with the head of the Catholic Church.

Now, the real question is: Is he really who we need at this point in our nation's history? Is his "rule with an iron-fist" style of government really the way to go? Better yet, how much can we trust this man?

Here, we try to answer several questions innocent members of the electorate might be too afraid to ask about the controversial politician—all of which could probably help us determine if we should go follow Team #Du30.

1) Who is Rodrigo Duterte, really?

Duterte is among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines. The 70-year-old lawyer has been mayor of Davao City for more than 22 years—1988-1998, 2001-2007, 2010-present. He has also served as vice mayor (2010-2013) and congressman (1998-2001) in the city.

He is the son of Vicente G. Duterte, who served as Governor of Davao, and Soledad Roa, a school teacher.

Duterte spent his elementary days at the Sta. Ana Elementary School in Davao City. He finished his secondary education at the Holy Cross Academy of Digos in Digos City, Davao del Sur.

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FUN FACT: He was expelled from several other schools prior, including Ateneo de Davao University mainly due to misconduct. Asked on Gandang Gabi Vice (GGV) what he did exactly to warrant expulsion, Duterte said, "Lahat na."

He took up a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila, where he graduated in 1968. Four years later, Duterte obtained a law degree from San Beda College and passed the bar exam the same year.

Duterte started his public service career as a Special Counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City in 1977. He became Fourth Assistant City Prosecutor in 1979; Third Assistant City Prosecutor in 1981; and Second Assistant City Prosecutor in 1983.

After the 1986 People Power Revolution, Duterte was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor of Davao. In 1988, he ran for mayor and won.

The rest is history.

2) How did he earn the moniker "The Punisher"?

He's long been suspected of being involved with the vigilante outfit Davao Death Squad, and has been criticized by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) for tolerating extrajudicial killings.

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HRW said that during Duterte's terms as mayor, over 1,000 suspected law offenders had been killed and that he "continued to espouse the killing of criminal suspects to combat crime."

Duterte neither denied nor admitted to the accusations.

However, in an interview with the Tribune, he said that "if criminals in the book of these foreigners have their human rights, peace-loving citizens should also be entitled to some human wrongs to protect themselves."

"A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil in order to protect the lives and well-being of the many who are good," he added. "I offer no excuses. I will not apologize to anyone. I am willing to go to jail so that my people can live in peace and achieve progress. So be it."

As if to mock his accusers, Duterte said this on his TV show last May: "Am I the death squad? True. That is true."

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Then, asked if he will do the same if he wins the presidency, he declared, "Kapag naging presidente ako, magtago na kayo. Yang 1,000, it will reach 50,000. I would kill all of you who make the lives of Filipinos miserable."

"Ipapatay ko talaga kayo. Manalo ako dahil sa breakdown in law and order. I do not want to commit a crime. But if by chance per chance, God will place me there, magbantay kayo, kasi yang 1,000 maging 100,000. Diyan mo makikita na tataba ang isda sa Manila Bay. Diyan ko kayo itapon."


3) What kind of government could we expect from him?

Well, aside from his staunch anti-crime policies, Duterte also promised that he would "stop corruption...and fix government."

How? Through dictatorship, of course.

He told Rappler, "It's going to be a dictatorship. It's the police and the military who will be the backbone. If they agree with you—if the right-thinking policemen and military men agree with you—then after six years, there will be a new set-up, maybe a federal-type: less corruption and a fresh air for the next generation."

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Duterte explained why. "If you become the president, you do not only change leaders, you have to change the Filipino himself. Kasi ang Filipino ngayon, hindi mo masabihan na obey the law. Sabihin mo sa kanya, 'THIS is the law. Put*ng in*, 'pag hindi mo sinunod ang batas, put*ng in* ka sa akin.'"

He also promised to get rid of the pork barrel, and threatened to abolish the House of Representatives if he has to.

4) Why should we pick Duterte over other candidates?

For Duterte, it's simple, really. Vice President Jejomar Binay, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago cannot change the country. Only he can.

"(You vote) any of them, you will still suffer," he said. "I'm not saying they cannot hack it. What I’m saying is…I don’t know whether they can do what I said I could do."

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5) How does he view members of the third sex?

According to Duterte, he loves the LGBTQ community.

He shared on GGV, "All human beings are created by God, so kung rerespetuhin mong totoo ang babae o ang lalaki, o kahit pa medyo alanganin, he is also a creation of God. (Because) it’s more about human dignity more than anything else."

Duterte was also among the first to voice dissent when pro-gay party list group Ladlad was being denied registration by the Comelec.

He actually passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in 2012 providing, among others, the protection of LGBT, minorities, and disabled persons against discrimination.

6) Is he really a womanizer?

Duterte was once married to Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman, a beautiful German-American flight stewardess with whom he has three children: Paolo ("Pulong"), Sara ("Inday Sara"), and Sebastian ("Baste").

In 1998, Zimmerman filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig to nullify their marriage. Duterte didn't contest it. Two years later, the court decided in Zimmerman's favor.

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Asked about her ex-husband, Zimmerman told the counsel, "Yes, he [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."

Among Duterte's known partners is Honeylet, a nurse, with whom he has a daughter named Veronica. He is said to have sired another child with another woman.

Duterte doesn't hide the fact that he is fond of girls, admitting on GGV that he has had a "couple of girlfriends," going on to divulge how he would sometimes claim to be gay, "Para ang mga babae, hindi sila matakot sa akin at lumapit sila."

He also doesn't mind admitting how he is an avid fan of Viagra, noting, "I can’t imagine life without it."

Lastly, ain't these videos enough confirmation?

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So, there you have it, the man of the hour, Rodrigo Duterte, in a nutshell. Will he earn your vote?

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