INFOGRAPHIC: 16 things you need to know about Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – For the past months, he took the interest of the Filipino audience on whether or not he will run for the presidency or not. He may have earned the praises and approval of the crowd but nonetheless, the myths, cursing habits and extensive admiration for women that surrounds the famed Davao City mayor gave him a larger-than-life character that mesmerized his supporters.
16 things you need to know about Rodrigo Duterte

With his name inching up in the survey games lately, his supporters are banking on his no-nonsense approach in solving social predicaments which they think will finally catapult the Philippines to a prosperous and stabilized nation ala Singapore.

Will the ironclad leadership of the pro-federalism Mayor Rodrigo Duterte succeed as the dark horse of the upcoming presidential elections? Time to take a look at him closely with this 16 interesting things about him:

fast facts rodrigo duterte

1. Duterte is a Cebuano.

Duterte on Esquire Magazine
Duterte on Esquire Magazine. Photo credit: Esquire Philippines
Born on March 28, 1945 in Maasin, Leyte, Duterte hails from the Visayas region, with a Cebuano blood coming from the Durano and Almendra clans. His father was a mayor of Danao City in Cebu prior to his stint as governor of Davao when the family decided to move in their new bailiwick sometime in 1950s. Duterte admits that he proudly embraces his Cebuano roots and still has a plan to retire at the Queen City of the South in the future.

2. From a family of politicians.

Aside from his father, Rody is also related to the former Cebu City mayor during the 80s, Ronald Duterte, whose father Ramon Duterte held the same position way back in the late 50s. Other political families in Cebu are also affiliated to Duterte, thus enjoying the latter's support at all times as he considers them as long distance relatives.

3. A skinny, high school bad boy.

Teenage Duterte with Nanay Soledad
Teenage Duterte with Nanay Soledad. Photo credit: Editha Caduaya/Rappler

Duterte has a skinny physique when he was still young so to avoid being bullied, he opted to befriend the street dwellers of Davao City, in which he learned how to deal things in a simple and logical manner just how ordinary people does. Being one of the tough guys of Davao City, the young Rody was embroiled in various fracases which resulted for him to be expelled twice in high school! Later on he will finish his secondary studies at the Holy Cross Academy of Digos.

4. Bedan law graduate.

Young Duterte (right)
Young Duterte (right). Photo credit: Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte Facebook Page

After completing his secondary education, Duterte studied at the Lyceum of the Philippines to earn his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Upon his graduation in 1968, he proceeded to San Beda College for his law studies wherein he graduated and passed the bar exam in 1972.

5. From special counsel to mayor.

Duterte taking his oath
Duterte taking his oath. Photo credit:

Due to the social and political statures of his parents, Duterte was appointed to become OIC vice mayor of Davao City prior to the restoration of democracy under the Cory Aquino administration. He ran and won in the 1988 local elections as mayor of the city. His mayorship was only disputed only when he had to run for different positions either as vice mayor or congressman of Davao's first district due to term limitations as stipulated by the 1986 constitution. Prior to his elections to those positions, Duterte served first as special counsel of the city.

6. One of the most trusted Filipinos.

March 2010 cover of Readers Digest Asia featuring the 100 most trusted Pinoys.
The March 2010 cover of Readers Digest Asia featuring the 100 most trusted Pinoys.
Photo credit: GMA News online

In 2010, Reader's Digest Asia released a list of the top 100 most trusted Filipinos. Among the list was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte occupying the 47th spot. Among the politicians on the list, Duterte was the 5th most trusted, just behind President Benigno Aquino III, Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, former Senator Mar Roxas and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

7. Duterte receives PHP 78,946 salary every month.

Compared with his fellow presidential contenders, Duterte has only PHP21.97 million net worth as of 2014. Aside from his government salary, he receives the majority of his source of income from his private investments, material possessions and by serving as head of different councils.

8. He never lost in any elections so far.

Mayor Duterte faces a crowd.
Mayor Duterte faces a crowd. Photo credit: Philippine Star online

Like his closest contemporary Vice President Jejomar Binay, Duterte etched the same political path and both never lost in an election. For over twenty years, Duterte successfully defended his post as mayor, vice mayor and congressman of Davao City. This untarnished record is being seen by his brave supporters as a clear testament on the high chance of the Davao City mayor to clinch the presidency this May.

9. Duterte is for diversity.

Duterte on his views about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Video from: ABS-CBN News online

The mayor is very much supportive in uplifting the social conditions of the LGBT, Muslims, Lumads and other minorities in the society. Through his political power, Duterte passed an Anti-Discrimination ordinance in Davao City. He is against bullying members of the LGBT and in fact provides opportunity for them to yield political powers in the society by including prominent members of the said sector to join in his political ticket.

Duterte is also an advocate of anti-discrimination against Muslims and other oppressed minorities in the society through providing the same opportunities that he offered to the LGBT community in his area of jurisdiction. Duterte fully supports the Reproductive Health Bill as well as the same-sex marriage in the LGBT community even way before these issues became a hot topic in the congress. Various health services such as vasectomy and tubal ligation procedures which are free of charge with some complimentary financial donation to whoever will undergo through such services are being provided by his local government.

10. Mayor Incognito.

Duterte checks the situation of the city sometimes as a cab driver.
Duterte checks the situation of the city sometimes as a cab driver. Photo credit: Davao’s Pride Facebook Page

Probably an important ingredient on why Davao City is considered as one of the safest cities is that its own head personally oversees the peace and order situation of the city. It’s not a secret anymore that the mayor normally rides a big bicycle to roam around the city every week, sometimes using a taxi and even treating lucky passengers going home a free ride!

11. Grocery against bribery.

Aside being a hands-on in keeping the peace and order of the city by warding off muggers, Duterte knows the temptations surrounding his men. In order to combat this, he was reported to be handing out grocery packages to his policemen in order to help them to resist the temptation of taking bribes. Recently, the presidential aspirant is eyeing a PHP 75,000-100,000 salary for policemen, that’s five times higher than the current rate of their salary!

12. Allergic to awards.

Aside from declining the nomination for the World Mayor Prize, which is being given to outstanding mayors in the world, Duterte also rejected handling the post as DILG Secretary not only once, twice nor thrice, but four times...offered to him by the last four presidents of the country! He insists that he is not the man capable of the job and would rather continue steering Davao City to stability. This is quite impressive as we all know that the DILG post is the most coveted by anyone who is aspiring to run for a higher office or to any politician who wants to wield greater influence nationwide.

13. In good terms with the NPA.

Yes, despite sitting on the other sides of the political spectrum, Mayor Duterte transcends the boundary of this line and one of this is when he donated financial assistance to help NPA rebels to cope up with the damages inflicted to them by Typhoon Pablo way back in 2012. Not only that, he even paid the medical bills of a wounded NPA member in 2004 when the man was brought in Davao Medical Center coming from an encounter and allowed a hero's burial to one of the leaders of NPA, Leoncio Pitao.

14. Has four children, associated with two women, admits having three girlfriends.

Duterte kids namely (left to right) Sara, Paolo and Sebastian.
Duterte kids namely (left to right) Sara, Paolo and Sebastian. Photo credit: Sunstar Davao online
Digong has been very vocal of his love for women. Although he can be seen flirting around with some, he’s very overprotective to them. He was once living with her former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, the mother of his three children namely Paolo, Sarah and Sebastian. Zimmerman is a former flight stewardess and is now currently battling cancer, their marriage was nullified in year 2000. He is also a father to an 11 year old child Veronica from Honeylet, a nurse.

15. Book and shoe lover.

He once said that the closest common thing that he has with Imelda Marcos is that they both love shoes, although his collections were smaller in quantity and a lot cheaper. The mayor is fond of reading books particularly historical or spy novels.

16. Seeks guidance from his parents when making important decisions.

Duterte contemplates in front of his father’s tomb.
Duterte contemplates in front of his father’s tomb. Photo credit: Durian Post Wordpress

Despite his macho persona, Duterte has an evidently soft spot not only for women and suffering people, but as well as for his parents. Whenever he’s about to make any important decisions, he always seeks the guidance of his parents by visiting their graves.


– Michael Santiago, The Summit Express

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