MANILA - The Office of the President on Friday said it takes note of foreign commentators comparing President Rodrigo Duterte and President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil.
In a statement, Malacañang said such comparison is "understandable," given that both Duterte and Bolsonaro "are populist leaders who came to power because of their respective peoples’ desire for formidable and decisive leadership."
"We take note of foreign commentators who have been drawing similarities between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) and President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil. This is no different when PRRD was referred to as 'Asia’s Donald Trump' for initiating trailblazing reforms in the Philippines. This is also no different when the Philippine President was likened to strong and tough heads of state who implement gallant measures against lawlessness," the Palace said.
"The comparison, however, ends there since Mr. Bolsonaro has yet to assume the presidency and will only do so come January 1, 2019. Everything is merely speculative at this point," it added.
According to Malacañang, Duterte has been demonstrating his "unique but effective" style of governance for the past two and a half years.
"In his first two-and-a-half years in office, President Duterte has demonstrated that he has his own unique but effective style of managing the affairs of the bureaucracy and the country – similar to none. His administration has been known for the 'Tapang at Malakasakit' brand of leadership which is esteemed by an overwhelming majority of Filipinos," the Palace said.
Duterte assumed office in mid-2016 and has undertaken policy shifts such as the bloody war on drugs, allowing the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes' cemetery, and a friendly foreign policy towards China.
Far-right lawmaker Bolsonaro, meanwhile, won Brazil's presidential election on Sunday, riding a wave of frustration over corruption and crime that brought a dramatic swing to the right in the world's fourth-largest democracy.
The 63-year-old seven-term congressman has vowed to crack down on crime in Brazil's cities and farm belt by granting police more autonomy to shoot at criminals. He also wants to let more Brazilians buy weapons to fight crime.