AMONG the rare breed of politicians who walk the talk, President Rodrigo Duterte is dubbed as “The Punisher” and “Dirty Harry of Davao.” His ironclad leadership provokes critics and human rights advocates but there are a number of unknown facts that may qualify him, after all, to have the makings of a great president. Here are some facts about the 16th president of the Philippines.
Rodrigo Duterte’s roots are originally from Cebu. His father, former Davao Governor Vicente Duterte was mayor of Danao City, Cebu while his uncle Ramon was mayor of Cebu City from 1957 to 1959. His cousin Ronald served as Cebu City mayor from 1983 to 1986. The Almendras and Durano clans of Cebu are considered relatives of Duterte.
It was during the 1950s when his father and their family moved to Davao leaving behind some of their relatives in Cebu.
Ramon Durano, a relative of the Dutertes who was a former Cebu congressman and mayor, is a known Marcos supporter. In Durano’s authobiography, he praised Marcos and described him as the “greatest leader the Philippines ever produced.”
Young Duterte was a skinny teenager but a tough kid ever since. He preferred to hang out with Davao City’s tough and street smarts. He was expelled twice from Ateneo de Davao but finally graduated from high school and earned a law degree from San Beda College in 1972.
When he passed the bar exam, Duterte served Davao as special counsel to the city government and eventually as assistant city fiscal. After the 1986 People Power Revolution, his career changed.
According to him, he never thought he would be a mayor. Since his mother was the wife of the governor and known as anti-Marcos, her name was listed among those who will welcome former Cory Aquino. They went to the fiscal office and advise him to act as the OIC. He won the mayorship in 1988 and stayed there until 1998 then ran for congress then back to mayor.
Less fulfilling congress days
After his three terms as Davao City mayor, Duterte won as congressman of the city’s first district in 1998. Duterte admitted, in an interview, that those were less than fulfilling years of his life.
Duterte believes in diversity. He allowed gay candidates (along with a Muslim and disabled) in his ticket. In 2009, he criticized the Comelec for kicking out Ang Ladlad, a gay rights group, from its party-list slate. He also helped pass an Anti-Discriminitation ordinance in Davao City.
Among those who admired Duterte’s iron fist leadership was former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who sought his help in 2002. He became Arroyo’s anti-crime consultant.
Groceries for police officers
Riding his Harvey big bike, Duterte would drive around Davao city to ensure that everything is taken care of. He made a policy of “dolling out groceries to cops as a way of curbing their temptation to elicit bribes.”
On religion and being “sexually abused as a child”
Although raised a Catholic, Duterte admitted that he has never been a regular churchgoer. According to him, he no longer goes to church because he can’t perform his duties as mayor and be a devout Catholic at the same time.
But he also confessed that he hasn’t completely abandoned his faith. Amid the controversy he encountered, he revealed that he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest while studying at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University.
Love for big bikes
He owns a second-hand Harley Davidson once. Now, he owns Yamaha Virago. He rides this big motorcycle around Davao City to check the city.
Known to be a “bad boy” but President Digong is a bookworm. According to his close friends, he reads every imaginable topic like Philippine history especially Mindanao history, economics, food secutiry and politics. He owns biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Lee Kwan Yew, and Barack Obama.