The Philippines have just elected a president who appears to be a Donald Trump on steroid of south-east Asia, although he himself said of the republican frontrunner “He is a bigot and I am not”. The president-elect, Rodrigo Dueterte “Dingo” garnered 39% of the vote at the general election this week. The two runners-up, Grace Poe and Manuel Araneta Roxas, have already conceded, virtually assuring victory for Duterte. Here are the 7 craziest things about the next president of the oldest democracy in south-east Asia.
1. Killing 100,000 criminals
Duterte promised he will kill 100,000 criminals if elected president. At the last electoral rally on Monday in Manila he addressed the country’s criminals: “Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I’d kill you. I’ll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.” On another occasion, at a presidential televised debate, he claimed that he would kill his own children if they took drugs.
2. Joking about rape
— Jodie Ortega (@dontrunbabygirl) May 11, 2016
The text cited in the tweet above was Dingo’s shocking statement at a campaign rally about a prison riot in Davao in 1989, when he was mayor of the city. The Australian ambassador reacted swiftly through another tweet.
Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialised. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere.
— Amanda Gorely (@AusAmbPH) April 18, 2016
Dingo responded to the Australian ambassador saying: “This is politics. Stay out. Stay out Australian government. Stay out.”
3. Personally taking a disputed island with a jet-ski
He vowed to ride a jet-ski to a disputed island occupied by China and personally stake the Philippines’ claims. “I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest point in South China Sea that is tolerable to them and I will ride a jet ski. I will carry a flag and when I reach Spratlys, I will erect the Filipino flag,” he said. On the other hand, Duterte previously stated that he is prepared to break with a majority of ASEAN members to negotiate directly with China, and would even consider setting aside the Philippines’ claims to parts of the disputed waters in return for economic cooperation.
4.Swearing at the Pope
The tough-talking Filipino President-Elect went as far as to swear at Pope Francis, although the Philippines are known as a staunchly Catholic country. Complaining about the already congested traffic in Manila during a papal visit Dingo said: “It took us five hours to get from the hotel to the airport. I asked who was coming. They said it was the Pope. I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a whore, go home. Don’t visit anymore.”
After receiving flack for the statement he sent a letter of apology to the Pontiff and promised to visit the Vatican if elected president. However, in his first press conference after his electoral victory, Duterte declared he had decided to cancel the visit and that the letter of apology would suffice. An actual visit would be “an exercise in duplicity” he told the journalists present at the press conference.
5. Banning drinking and karaoke after 10pm
As Mayor of Davao, a city in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, Duterte imposed a ban on drinking alcohol after 10pm. “This liquor ban is because we have to work the next day,” he said. “Nothing to do with denying us of our freedoms. On top of that, he also imposed a ban on loud karaoke singing, claiming that “everyone has to go to bed.” I a country where karaoke singing is such an important past-time that frequent brawls break out over the favourite song to play next, this policy sounds even more extreme and nonsensical.
6. Removing algebra, calculus and trigonometry from school curricula
At a thanksgiving dinner in Taguig City, Rodrigo Duerte confessed that he suffered from “maths anxiety”, and according to him this extends to the majority of the Filipino. “What have you learned in Calculus and Trigonometry during high school?”, he asked. “Let’s replace Algebra with Business Math,” he added. Duterte concluded by saying that drawing lines up and down makes him dizzy, referring to mathematical graphs.
7. His credentials for being president
Duterte who is rightly regarded as an anti-establishment outsider is often criticised for running for a job which he may not be prepared to do. He disregarded this criticism with whimsy and ridicule saying that: “Many are asking what my credentials are and what I can do for the Philippines. They are telling me that they heard I am a womaniser. That is true. That is very true.” His undiplomatic language, crude jokes, scary human rights sensibilities seem to not matter, so long as he is a womaniser. This is politics at its most primordial level.
As a bonus point, Dingo has promised to do his very best “not just in my waking hours but even in my sleep.”
Many experts, diplomats and politicians hope that Dingo’s foul mouth was simply an election strategy and that once he comes to power he will in fact tone down his rhetoric, start behaving as a head of state in the international sphere and abide by all human rights domestic and international obligations.