Duterte's weakness? 'Ay, sus, Chicks!'
MANILA - For the late mother of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, he has the making of a leader.
"The only one among my children kissing my hand... After analyzing all my children, I told my children: 'Only Rody has the making of a leader,'" Soledad Duterte told ABS-CBN journalist Ces Oreña Drilon during an episode of "Pipol" a few years ago.
Duterte is the second eldest among the five children of Soledad, a former school teacher, and Vicente, a former governor of Davao.
In the "Pipol" episode, Duterte recalled how many doubted that he would end up successful in life, being a hard-headed boy both at home and in school.
"I got into so many troubles, embarrassing times. Mga rumble- rumble diyan. It took me about six years to finish high school. I got expelled (from Ateneo de Davao)....You know, I was not really sure if I could take the Bar," he said.
But it was his "ever faithful" mother, he said, who constantly believed in him. Until now, Duterte continues to ask for his parents' guidance.
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Duterte, now 71, had served as city prosecutor before he became mayor of Davao City for 21 years.
Known for his iron-fist approach to crime, Duterte would roam around on board his motorcycle to personally see to it that no drug dealers would infiltrate his city and no one would violate the city's liquor and cigarette ban.
"This mayor, 3:00 [a.m.], he comes home. Rumoronda," Soledad said of her hands-on son.
But does the tough-talking, no-nonsense mayor have a weakness? Yes, according to his mother.
"Ay, sus, chicks!" Soledad quickly quipped. But Duterte said: "I disagree with her."
While he denied that women are his greatest weakness, he admitted that he considered his break-up with his former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, his "toughest" challenge.
Duterte and Zimmerman have two sons, Paolo and Sebastian, and one daughter, Sara. Duterte has a daughter, Veronica, with her current partner, Honeylet Avanceña.
"More than my life, I really love my children," he said.
Duterte, who has been dubbed "The Punisher" for admitting links to a death squad allegedly responsible for summary executions of over 1,000 criminals in his turf, is set to become the Philippines' next president after getting a commanding lead of over 6 million votes over his closest rival among the four other presidential candidates.
Many Filipinos are banking on his promise of change and his vow to eradicate criminality and drug operations in only a span of three to six months.
Duterte is also lauded by some for his simplicity, campaigning in jeans and a simple button-down shirt and living in the same house in a middle-class village in Davao City for two decades now.
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Some have raised fears about the rule of law under a Duterte administration. But Duterte, on the other hand, has never seemed to fear a thing.
"I'm excited to meet my maker," he said in the "Pipol" interview. "If I'm not deserving dun sa heaven, I'm as equally excited to slap this g**** Satan. Sabihin ko sa kanya: 'Panahon mo nang umalis dito, p**** **. Ako na diyan."