Later today, the Philippines will officially declare the winner of its presidential elections. There are five candidates running and since there is no run-off, the winner needs only a plurality to become president. I had not been aware until today that the candidate currently leading in the vote count and expected to win, Rodrigo Duterte, has a horrific record and platform and has made no secret for his disdain for democratic checks and balances if they stand in the way of his agenda.
He asks voters to “forget the laws on human rights” and has boasted about his involvement in at least hundreds of extrajudicial killings of criminals while he was mayor. He made comments about wanting to rape an Australian missionary and called Pope Francis “son of a whore” when the pontiff’s visit caused a traffic jam in Manila. He is a self-confessed womanizer who admits taking Viagra and has vowed to ride a jet ski to a disputed island that China claims in the South China Sea to personally stake the Philippines’ claim. Rodrigo Duterte is also the front-runner to become the country’s next president.
It seems like people have responded favorably to his hardline stances on crime and corruption.
Given the close links that the US has with the Philippines, I am surprised that this election has received hardly any coverage here. Maybe the wall-to-wall coverage of the US presidential election left no room for anything else.
John Oliver had a segment on Duterte’s appalling views.