Rodrigo Duterte, tough-talking Philippine presidential favourite

Rodrigo Duterte, a lawyer by training, has served the most years of any mayor in the Philippines, as head of Davao City for a total of seven three-year terms. In between, he was either vice mayor or a congressional representative of the city.

He has four children by two women, and claims to have three girlfriends, prompting some critics to call him a womanizer.

Duterte was born in the central province of Southern Leyte, but was raised in Davao where his late father served as governor in the 1950s. His late mother was a school teacher.

According to stories about his childhood, he was a tough kid despite being skinny, and frequently in trouble. He was expelled from two high schools before finally graduating from a third.

As mayor of Davao City, he has been credited for transforming the metropolis of more than 1.4 million people into a bustling commercial hub in the southern region of Mindanao.

He has won several leadership awards for his work in Davao City, where stories abound of his tough stance against criminal or even disorderly behaviour.

One story doing the rounds tells how he pushed a suspected drug trafficker out of a helicopter, while in another he forced a man to eat his cigarettes after lighting up in a no-smoking restaurant.

Duterte has been linked to a vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad, which has been blamed for hundreds of murders. He has never confirmed or been formally charged with being behind the squad. 

Last update: Sat, 16/04/2016 - 10:48

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