News & Politics

The Probable Next Philippine President Out-Trumps Trump

(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

I didn’t think any political candidate in the world could ever be raunchier, more bombastic, cruder, more boorish, or more of a swaggering braggart than Donald Trump.

I was wrong.

The Philippines are about to elect Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte their next president. He currently holds an 11-point lead over his nearest rival with the election scheduled for May 9.

Duterte’s nickname is “Digong,” but he is also known as “the punisher” and “Duterte Harry.” He is running as a “Law and Order” candidate promising to address the skyrocketing crime rate in the Philippines by waging a “bloody war” on crime. He has threatened to kill all criminals if they put up any resistance.

As a candidate who has pledged to end corruption, Duterte has reportedly socked away a couple of hundred million pesos in various bank accounts.

He is known as the “Donald Trump of the Philippines” but we should thank our lucky stars that even The Donald’s crudeness pales in comparison. This is a guy who joked about a woman who was murdered and raped being so beautiful that he wished he had been first in line.

And while The Donald brags about the size of his hands suggesting a correlation to the size of his penis, Duterte goes beyond that mild transgression against good taste:

Although the business crowd gathered to hear about Duterte’s economic strategy, they were treated to a wide arrangement of unrelated topics. Elections for the six-year presidency are scheduled for May 9.

“I was separated from my wife. I’m not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever?” Duterte said about his image as a womanizer. “When I take Viagra, it stands up.”

Duterte said he has two mistresses, but also said they don’t cost him much — adding he keeps them in cheap boarding houses and travels with them to low-cost hotels for sex.

His suggestion that he would allow police and the army to commit mass murder in killing and executing criminals is nothing new. Between 1998 and 2008, Duterte encouraged the notorious Davao Death Squad, which  murdered more than 1000 people — mostly petty criminals and small-time drug dealers.

Commenting on Duterte, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions said in 2008, “The mayor’s positioning is frankly untenable: He dominates the city so thoroughly as to stamp out whole genres of crime, yet he remains powerless in the face of hundreds of murders committed by men without masks in view of witnesses.”

Duterte promised to pardon himself when he got into office.

“I will issue 1,000 pardons a day,” Duterte said. “Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte.”

Duterte, 71, who served as the mayor of Davao City, has run on an anti-crime platform that appeals to the country’s upper and middle classes who fear rising criminality. He said he would establish a ruthless administration that would eradicate crime syndicates in the first six months of his tenure. He warned he would authorize security agencies to kill hundreds of criminals and that he would allow the execution of criminals, adding that he would pardon himself and his executioners after.

Duterte, like Trump, appeals mostly to the ignorant, the simple minded, and those who mistake bombast for “fight.” And like Trump, he promises almost instant results for his policies.

But Duterte makes Trump look like Mr. Peabody by comparison.