Did This Country Just Elect Its Own Donald Trump?

Photo: George Calvelo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Update: Rodrigo Duterte will officially be the next president of the Philippines. The mayor won the country's recent elections by a landslide, receiving more than 16.6 million votes, according to an official vote tally released this week. He will take office on June 30, Al Jazeera reports.

This story was originally published on May 10, 2016.

The presidential candidate with a larger-than-life persona and a knack for putting his foot in his mouth (especially when talking about women) is set to become the next head of state. No, we're not talking about Donald Trump. Rodrigo Duterte, an unapologetic, straight-talking, lecherous mayor is next in line to be president of the Philippines after running a campaign that pitted principal versus policy. The 71-year-old declared victory following an apparent win in the polls this week, pledging to rewrite the country's constitution once he takes office.
The Philippines has long been controlled by a handful of wealthy families who have rotated through power. Duterte, largely a political outsider, ran a successful campaign promising to tackle crime and corruption. His bad-boy reputation is the result of tough rhetoric — including threats of murder for those who break the law. The city he leads, Davao, is a comparatively well-run place with civil services that exceed those in other parts of the country. But his relationship with women is an issue that divided the electorate. Similar to Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, Duterte has made comments linking a woman’s value to her looks. In April, he sparked a wave of controversy when he implied he should have been “first in line” in the 1989 rape of an Australian missionary because of her beauty. He also questioned his own daughter’s account as a sexual assault victim by calling her a “drama queen.“ A self-professed playboy, Duterte has boasted about his Viagra-fueled escapades and openly talked about taking his girlfriends to hotels for "short-time" trysts. But not everyone has been turned off by his behavior. Many women helped solidify his image as a sex symbol by lining up at campaign rallies for a chance to kiss him, often on the lips. Duterte has said before that this is not of a sexual nature — but the images don't persuade many otherwise.
Despite his public image, Duterte's supporters say he is actually one of the biggest proponents for women’s rights. While mayor, he has essentially decriminalized prostitution (for sex workers), established anti-discrimination laws for women, developed multiple public health and safety programs and supported family planning — a controversial stance in a predominantly Catholic country. He's made cracking down on crime a key pillar of his campaign — a stance he argues will help the country's women. “If your beautiful wife or beautiful daughter can walk late at night until the wee hours of the morning in any street without being molested or hurt, that is what you strive for,” he once said. Duterte is expected to take office at the end of the month for a tenure that could last six years. While formal results won't be confirmed and released until June, exit polls showed him ahead, and his closest rivals have already conceded. Duterte, for his part, didn't seem too worried about the outcome when Filipinos went to the polls on Monday. In fact, he told reporters that he spent much of Election Day asleep. "You know, a lesson in life [is] there are things beyond your control," he said, according to CNN. "You can't control buying [of votes] and intimidation; we'll just leave it up to the police." Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the president-elect's first name. Refinery29 regrets the error.

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