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Don’t expect Duterte to be the Donald Trump of the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

After a landslide victory in Monday’s Philippines election, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte is set to become the country’s new president. The straight-talking mayor of Davao has been making headlines for his comments on rape and his commitment to kill thousands of criminals in a bid to crackdown on crime.

Requesting forgiveness from Pope Francis for insulting him during the electoral campaign, Duterte is no stranger to using strong, often blunt, language.

Apologising for the outburst he called a “stray bullet”, Duterte says it resulted from his frustration with the shambolic organisation by the government and hopes to apologise to the Holy Father in person.

Though it may seem from the electoral campaign like the Church in the Philippines will struggle with Duterte’s administration, Filipinos are holding out for it to be different from his campaign.

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro asked for everyone to be “sure that all the rule of law and the constitutional processes are followed”. Perhaps hoping, too, for change, he added: “But we are sure that he has already made statements that he will abide by the rule of law.”

What is predicted to be a presidency full of strong exchanges may turn out not to be the case. Pledging to be “prim and proper” when he is sworn in, Duterte has said that his administration will be one of modesty.

Driving a pickup truck in Davao and hoping to set a precedent, he says public ministers will not be allowed to indulge in luxury cars.

Likened by many as the Philippines’ equivalent of Donald Trump, the outspoken president-elect might yet prove people wrong. It’s too soon to foresee what Duterte will be like as president, but if Filipinos are willing to give him a chance perhaps the rest of the world should do so too.