Rodrigo Duterte is projected to win the Philippines presidential election after running a campaign reminiscent of the notorious American presidential candidate Donald Trump, with both coming from outside the establishment and holding nothing back on the campaign trail.
The 71 year old Mayor takes this mantra one step further, vowing to kill tens of thousands of criminals. Already he is facing accusations from human rights advocates that he is in charge of numerous death squads across the country that are responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings, which he maintains only use lethal forces against violent resistance.
He has also, reportedly, suggested that he will disregard the democratic process if it gets in the way of his campaign to fix the nation’s problems, adopting singular rule if other politicians try to stop him.
Beyond violence against criminals he has reportedly joked about wanting to be the first to rape an Australian missionary who was held hostage and raped in prison riot in 1989, later apologizing for the comment.
Part of Duterte’s rise has to do with the economic situation of The Philippines. Despite seeing an annual growth of 6 percent averaged across previous President Benigno Aquino’s six year term, many believe the nation’s poverty is worsening and that much of the growth has gone to the elite.
Duterte has promised to take on concentration of wealth and power in a few elite families directly, however, his running mate, Alan Peter Cayetano, is a member of this elite class.
Much like Trump, a lot of his supporters forgive his more controversial comments out of a belief that he is the only candidate capable of enacted real change, while those in opposition of him believe he will return them to their dictatorial past.