Right now, Rodrigo Duterte is the mayor of Davao City, Philippines.
Duterte was elected president in 2016. To critics, his presence on the world stage poses a danger to democracy. To supporters, he’s a straight-talking truth-teller who is willing to address public issues head-on.
He previously worked as a politician, being a member of the Philippine equivalent of the United States House of Representatives for over a decade.
He is famous for his controversial comments on many issues, including gay rights, the DREAM Act and most recently, on Christmas day, on whether or not “Christmas is an American invention.”
On whether or not it’s OK to call God a “silly name,” the Davao City Mayor replied: “We Christians have liberty to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ They [the government] don’t.”
He became angry with another reporter who asked him a question about the death penalty. According to media reports, Duterte threw a water bottle in her face, prompting a fight on the street between the reporter and Duterte supporters.
He has previously made multiple sexist comments, including one stating that women “finish what they started” before giving birth, and another that the Philippine army makes women “wonder” what it’s like to be raped in other countries.
In November 2017, when making a statement about refugees in southern Philippines, he said, “Those are looters and kidnappers who are committing crimes, but they’re not refugees. They can’t claim to be refugees because they are Filipinos.”
In September 2018, it was reported that Duterte wanted to expel U.S. troops from the country’s south on claims that American troops were playing a role in protecting Islamic State fighters.
And during his time as mayor of Davao City, a number of extrajudicial killings occurred. In 2016, over 300 bodies were found in Manila and 81 in Davao City. “We’re fighting an insurgency, not a civil war. If anyone cannot accept the reality, we should send them to ISIS,” he said at the time.