Asia

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in quotes

Presidential candidate Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte 09 May 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rodrigo Duterte vowed to kill criminals if he was elected president - and has kept his word

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is known for saying things that many would consider unsayable.

But his outspoken style and crime-fighting record have made him popular with many Filipinos.

Here are some of his most contentious statements:


Praising Hitler

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Duterte said he'd be happy to follow Hitler's example

For most political leaders, praising Adolf Hitler would be inconceivable. But not for Mr Duterte, who has compared his brutal campaign against drug dealers and users to the Holocaust, saying he will kill as many addicts as Hitler did Jews.

In comments that sparked global outrage, he told reporters he had been "portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler" by his critics.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them," he said.

"At least Germany had Hitler. The Philippines wouldn't."

Mr Duterte - who got his statistics wrong, as Hitler massacred six million Jews - said he wants to "finish the problem of my country and save the next generation".


Insulting the US president

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Duterte's diplomacy is anything but diplomatic

With China and the Philippines engaged in a dispute over territory, it would be conventional for Mr Duterte to build close ties with the country's most powerful ally, the US.

But instead, ahead of a meeting in Laos he described Barack Obama as a "son of a whore" over suggestions the US president might challenge him on human rights issues.

He succeeded in avoiding the topic in one sense, at least. Mr Obama cancelled the meeting, saying he preferred "constructive, productive conversations".


Giving the EU the finger

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Britain and France were singled out for Mr Duterte's scorn

When the EU also urged his government to investigate human rights abuses, Mr Duterte launched an obscenity-filled rant and showed Brussels his well-used middle finger.

"I have read the condemnation of the European Union," the president told businessmen in Davao on 20 September, before cursing.

Describing the EU as hypocrites, Mr Duterte said member countries like the UK and France had "the gall to condemn me" despite their colonial ancestors killing "thousands of Arabs".

He said the EU is simply trying to "atone" for its sins and "guilt feelings" over occupying other countries in the past.


Defending drug deaths

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The corpses have piled up at a rapid rate since Duterte took power

The sharp increase in killings of alleged drug dealers and drug users under Mr Duterte's leadership is no surprise - he promised to do as much during his election campaign. But with thousands now thought to have been killed, he has still run into opposition.

Unsurprisingly, the man who once said he would kill his own children if they took drugs has not backed down.

"Do the lives of 10 of these criminals really matter? If I am the one facing all this grief, would 100 lives of these idiots mean anything to me?" he said.

When UN human rights experts said his encouragement of drug killings amounted to "a crime under international law", he responded with an expletive-laden tirade, branding the experts "stupid" and threatening to pull out of the UN. He later said his threat was a joke.


'The Punisher' president


A vow to kill 100,000 criminals

Mr Duterte won the presidency because of his success in reducing crime while mayor of Davao.

In a bid to tackle communist insurgents, Davao armed civilian militias, who went on to become death squads targeting others seen as a threat to public order. It was an approach Mr Duterte promised to replicate as president.

"Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I'd kill you," he said at his final campaign rally. "I'll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Duterte said he would "fatten the fish" in Manila Bay

He also said he would give himself and members of the security forces immunity from prosecution when they leave office, saying: "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte."


A 'joke' about rape and murder

"I saw her face and I thought, 'What a pity... they raped her, they all lined up. I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first."

That was Mr Duterte speaking at a campaign rally about a prison riot in Davao in 1989 that resulted in inmates raping and murdering a female Australian missionary.

After saying it was just "how men talk", his office issued an apology, before he rowed back on that.


A slur on the Pope

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Pope's visit in 2015 aggravated the country's already notorious traffic

"We were affected by the traffic. It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him: 'Pope, son of a whore, go home. Do not visit us again'."

Even swearing about the Pope in the strongly Catholic Philippines did not dent the presidential campaign of Mr Duterte, who then said he would travel to the Vatican to ask for forgiveness, before writing the Pope a letter instead.


Jet skiing in the South China Sea

"I will ride a jet ski while bringing the Philippine flag."

The Philippines is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China over islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

To help solve this, Mr Duterte once promised to ride alone to an airport built on reclaimed land by the Chinese, to plant a Philippines flag and say: "This is ours. Do what you want with me."


On Donald Trump

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Duterte says comparisons with Donald Trump are unjustified

"He is a bigot and I am not".

Despite a mutual fondness for inflammatory remarks, the man dubbed "Duterte Harry" has rejected comparisons with US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

He is milder towards Islam, however, arguing that a stalled peace process with Islamist rebels in the Philippines should address injustices committed against Muslims.


On Viagra

"I was separated from my wife. I'm not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever? When I take Viagra, it stands up."

As well as that insight into his sex life he also bragged about being a womaniser, saying that he had two mistresses.

Related Topics

More on this story