Sweeping Justice or Widespread Witch Hunt Rodrigo Duterte’s Crusade Against Crime
Dubbed ”The Punisher” by Time magazine, Rodrigo Duterte is the 16th president of the Philippines. Known for his bravado, tough stance on crime and seemingly uncensored manner of speaking, Duterte campaigned on a platform of broad promises and threats. Since his election, an average of 13 people a day have been gunned down by either police or vigilantes acting on Duterte’s entreaty to kill whomever they believe to be a criminal. However, despite his repeated public petitions for violence, slurs directed at international officials, multiple bouts of philandering and televised showcasing of a "kill list," 9 out of 10 Filipinos have stated that they trust and approve of their new president.
The complex reasons behind Duterte’s overwhelming popularity are rooted in matters relating to class. Though his predecessor, Benigno Aquino, transformed the Philippines from the "sick man of Asia" into one of Asia’s economic "tigers," the nation still possesses a massive wealth disparity. Furthermore, the country has a history of politicians acting with impunity, empowering and absolving each other. Contrary to his peers, Duterte is viewed as incorruptible and has promised to break the cycle of legal subversion by punishing all lawbreakers, regardless of class or position. As of August 7, 2016, the president has allegedly linked 150 judges, politicians and police to the drug trade.