Rodrigo Roa Duterte, also known as Digong, Rody, or DU30, is the 16th and current President of the Philippines since June 30, 2016. He is known for his unorthodox, often vulgar speech rhetoric and his War on Drugs, which has attracted western media for its alleged human rights violations.
A San Beda Law graduate, he served as longtime mayor of Davao City from 1988-1998, 2001-2007 and 2013-2016, its 1st district congressman from 1998-2001 and vice mayor from 2010-201, during which he rose to prominence for his widely-acclaimed actions in the city, despite allegations of extrajudicial killings on the city's wanted criminals through the so-called "Davao Death Squad."
2016 Presidential Campaign
He campaigned for the presidency in 2016, a decision he was originally reluctant to do, alongside running mate Alan Peter Cayetano and the PDP-Laban Party. With his promise on amending the constitution to support Federalism and his slogan "Change is coming," he won a landslide victory in the 2016 presidential elections, garnering more than 6 million votes against his closest rival, Mar Roxas.
First Term (2016-Present)
As with Philippine tradition, Duterte was inagurated as president June 30, 2016 along with Vice Presidential winner Leni Robredo. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Duterte immediately ordered the Philippine War on Drugs within the first few days of his presidency. Policemen were ordered to immediately shoot drug pushers and suspects if they resisted arrest, causing a massive amount of deaths. The official death toll is 2,717 as of April 2017. Some estimate it as high as 7,000, though this has not been verified. Because of this, Duterte recieved outspoken criticism from media outlets and human rights groups, with Amnesty International reporting it as "not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor," comedian John Oliver describing Duterte as "the Trump of the East", and even then-United States President Barack Obama voicing his opinions on the issue. In response to this, Duterte called Obama a "son of a whore" and accused international media for criticizing him while failing to cover similar albeit American issues such as racial tensions and the Obama administration's drone strikes on enemy targets, which many also say have led to numerous deaths of innocent civilians. Duterte has long been slightly anti-American, believed to be the effect of an incident in his youth when he was sexually abused by a Catholic American preist, later identified as Fr. Mark Falvey, S.J.
He also proposes ending the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US which he believes is unconstitutional, further severing Philippine-US relations. However, Malacanan has stressed that they are not completely breaking ties with the US and are simply "pursuing an independent foreign policy." He is also trying to improve relations with the People's Republic of China, which the previous Aquino administration viewed as a political enemy in the South China Sea Dispute.