How Did This Guy Get Voted In?

not sure if this should be in the pit…

Recently voted-in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t strike me as much of a statesman. Despite the fact he did get voted in, if he’s going to say (at a presidential debate) he’d kill his children if they took drugs then STOP the presses right there - full stop - not the right thing to say (among the many stupid things he’s said), and, from that idiot remark alone, sure wouldn’t have gotten my vote.

“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’”

The article did say that crime statistics (which I’d like to have seen - c’mon BBC!) have gone down since he took over, so, maybe some good can be gleaned from this?

Genuinely curious if there are any Filipinos here (or anyone who knows/talked to anyone) who’ve experienced, first hand, the political climate down there in the last two months since he’s been elected.

He was elected. Apparently the people of the Philipoines knew what to expect, and got it. Their society is different from ours.

We’ll see about that in November.

yeah ok a slip on my choice of verbs, there, but is their society really that different from over here? To allow him to get in? (yeah yeah to preemptively strike down an “apparently so” answer, in the meantime, lol)

I’m from the Philippines and am appalled by Duterte, as are many other Filipinos. Politically, one reason he was voted in was a split vote; he won with only 38% of the votes. If the rest of the votes had not been split between 4 moderate and democratic rivals, he might not have been elected. In fact in the weeks just before the election there was a move to unite behind one of the moderates and to get one or 2 of them to withdraw but none of them would.

Duterte won with 16 million votes, but 30 million votes went to the 4 other candidates:

I haven’t lived in the Philippines for the past 30 years, but I hear from friends that Duterte appeals to people for whom law and order is important, as well as to the poor who feel that previous presidents who came from wealthy families weren’t paying attention to their concerns. In contrast, as mayor of Davao, a large city, Duterte did have some well-publicized programs that supposedly helped the poor. Unlike in the US which sees itself as a classless society where anyone can get ahead, there’s much more awareness of the gap between the rich and the poor in the Philippines.

And of course Duterte in some ways is like Donald Trump–if you look at Trump’s appeal to people who want plain tough talk and feel-good slogans, you can see Duterte’s appeal as well.

The statement “their society is different from ours” isn’t really helpful here. While the Philippines has had its issues with dictatorship and corruption, it also has a long tradition of democratic government and of leaders who, while maybe not the most effective, have still upheld the rule of law and tried to fight corruption. Recent examples are Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and the most recent president, Benigno Aquino III.

Same thing as Turkey. Some of our so-called liberals here will gleefully exclaim, “democracy! Majority rules! Hahahahaha, that’s what you get with democracy!”


Part of the answer is that the Philippines does not have compulsory voting. Where [a theoretical] 100% of the adult population will vote, the political target is persuading the broad centre, so one of the complaints about Australia’s two main parties, where it is compusory, is that they effectively share many policies and only differ at the margins. The political fringe remain the numerical fringe in this model.

Where people only vote if they can be persuaded to get out of the house, then politicians come up with platforms that are aimed at creating scary others, and then offering themselves as the only solution that will avoid people being murdered in their beds / having their guns beaten into plough-shares / forced to eat halal Mexican food / etc.

Admittedly the Philippine election had ~80% turnout, which is pretty good, since most US elections seem to peg out at 50% [Wikipedia article on voter turnout has a neat searchable table]. Would the addition of another 20% have shifted the result to a more vanilla candidate?

Not unless that 20% all voted to the same of the 4…

And that is one of the advantages of a two party system. In our system, those 5 guys would have run against each other in the primaries, and then only one would remain victorious, who would then go on to battle Duterte.

(Or, yeah, maybe some of them would have run against Duterte in the primaries. But still, the point is, there’d be two candidates, and thus a majority and plurality would be the same thing.)

He intends to reinterpret Marcos into the National heroes graveyard. Despite a lot of opposition!

I can’t say much about their society but they seem to be more conservative over all than here in the US by some amount. They have a serious crime problem and he was a known crime fighter, although considered to have used extra-judicial hit squads. I’m sure there’s a lot of opposition to him there, but my main point was that they knew what to expect from him, it’s not like he turned into something else after he was elected. It’s much like Trump over here, if he were elected somehow we shouldn’t be surprised if he continues his anti-Muslim campaign or tries to build a wall.

Reported for forum change.


By encouraging people to shoot drug addicts themselves he does seem to have rattled the drug-using community, athough this is clearly an instance of the cure being way worse than the disease. As to how he got elected other posters above, far more knowledgeable about Filipino affairs than myself, have answered that.

I’m hoping that he may settle into the Presidency and mellow, although that hope is based on no concrete indications.

I have business in Asia and have traveled to the Philippines a number of times. I am not Filipino.

The same oligarchy of 2 or 3 families have ruled the Philippines for many decades now. Perhaps the people wanted a change.

I was on a trip there during the election campaign and asked every taxi driver I got a ride with who they were voting for in the upcoming election. Perhaps 20 to 25 of them over 10 days or so. With the exception of one, they all said they were voting for Duterte and they all knew what he was about. So I would say the Philippine people elected who they wanted.

Moderator Action

This is getting more speculation than facts, so let’s send it over to a more appropriate forum. It doesn’t seem very pit-worthy (at least not yet) so let’s give IMHO a shot.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.