President of Philippines
Rodrigo Duterte, President of Philippines (elected on May 9, 2016 with 39% of the vote)
Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte (born March 28, 1945), also known by the nickname Digong, is a Filipino lawyer and politician of Visayan descent.
Popular with the locals due to his successful zero tolerance policies against criminals, he earned the nickname “The Punisher”. Vigilante groups tied to Duterte are thought to be responsible for the execution of drug traffickers, criminals, gang members and other lawless elements. Over a period of 20 years, he turned Davao City from the “murder capital of The Philippines” to what tourism organisations now describe as “the most peaceful city in southeast Asia,” and what numbeo.com ranks as the world’s fourth safest place.
Nonetheless, Duterte has drawn criticism from various sources, particularly the press and the Philippine National Police, which contest the effectiveness of his policies.
Duterte had been urged to run for the Philippine presidency numerous times, but refused these offers until well into 2015 on the grounds of a “flawed government system”, old age and opposition from his family. Nevertheless, on November 21, 2015 he declared his candidacy in the 2016 election contest for the office of the President of the Philippines, and won with 38.5% of the vote. Duterte is due to take office on June 30, 2016, for a term of six years.
Duterte is known for being an avid fan of big bikes but detests luxury cars. He once owned a second-hand Harley Davidson and currently a Yamaha Virago. He was once a habitual smoker but he eventually quit after a doctor’s suggestion due to health concerns. Duterte is openly supportive of LGBT rights and is an avid reader of Robert Ludlum and Sydney Sheldon novels.
Duterte has his own local show in Davao City called Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa (“From the Masses, For the Masses”) aired as a blocktimer on ABS-CBN Davao. He is also a member of Lex Talionis Fraternitas, a fraternity based in the San Beda College of Law and the Ateneo de Davao University.
Duterte has siblings named Eleanor Duterte; Benjamin “Bong” Duterte, a one-term city councilor of Davao between 1992 to 1995; younger sister Jocelyn Duterte, who lost in several attempts to grab a Third District city council seat as well as for the mayor post in 2001; and Blue Boy Duterte who ran and lost in the First District congressional race in 1998. Duterte is also known for his straightforward and vocal attitude in public especially in interviews, showing no hesitation in using profanity profusely live on-screen on numerous occasions despite formal requests by media groups and schools beforehand to abstain.
Duterte was once married to Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman, a flight attendant who hails from Davao City and is of German American descent who also traces her roots in Tuburan, Cebu. They together have three children (from eldest to youngest): Paolo (“Pulong”), Sara (“Inday Sara”) and Sebastian (“Bastê”). Paolo and Sara ventured into politics while Baste, with no interest in politics, concentrated on business and surfing. Paolo got married twice, first with Lovely Sankola whom he had separated with, and second with January Duterte, his current wife. Sara is currently married to a fellow lawyer while Baste, though currently single, has 2 kids: a daughter with his former girlfriend and a son with his recent ex-girlfriend. In 2012, Duterte made a notorious remark in a media interview regarding an incident where Paolo’s name was allegedly linked to a carnapping syndicate led by Ryan Yu. Duterte is infamously quoted as having said: “Kill my son Paolo if he is involved in crime.” Paolo was never charged for lack of evidence and eventually won the Davao City vice mayoralty in 2013. Duterte’s father Vicente died in 1968 while his mother Soledad died on February 4, 2012, at the age of 95. Zimmerman was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2015.
Duterte has been publicly very open about his infidelity and philandering while married to Zimmerman and cited it as the reason for his failed first marriage when asked in interviews. In 1998, Zimmerman filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig to nullify her marriage. Duterte never appeared in court and did not contest Zimmerman’s petition. Two years later, the court decided in her favor, ending the 27-year marriage of Duterte and Zimmerman. Duterte and Zimmerman have been on good terms in recent years with Zimmerman stating, “Yes, he [Rodrigo] is really a very good leader. That is all he is. But when it comes to family, he is not capable of taking care of it.” In 2001, Zimmerman eventually ran for a seat on the city council but lost. Duterte and Zimmerman are said to have patched things up and appear to be civil to each other, 15 years after their marriage was declared null and void. Zimmerman eventually joined the campaign trail for Duterte’s presidential candidacy in early 2016 called Byaheng Du30 in which she would travel by bus to major cities together with her daughter Sara and a number of delegates.
Duterte is currently living with his common-law wife Cieleto “Honeylet” Avanceña, a nurse, with whom he has one daughter named Veronica (“Kitty”). Duterte has eight grandchildren, half of whom are Muslims and the other half Christian.
Despite being raised as a communicant of the Catholic Church, on January 19, 2016, while meeting with businessmen in Binondo, Manila, he clarified that he has not attended Mass for quite some time already since he deemed it incompatible with his mayoral responsibilities: “(Kung) pakinggan ko ‘yang Ten Commandments, pati ‘yong pari diyan, wala na akong magagawa sa pagka-mayor ko” (“If I listened to the Ten Commandments or to the priests, I would not be able to do anything as a mayor”). Duterte then clarified that he had not abandoned God, only “forfeited” his religion for the meantime.
Duterte personally disclosed that he suffers from Buerger’s disease, an inflammation of blood vessels mostly in the limbs that has been traced to previous habitual smoking, contrary to earlier rumors of throat cancer.
Benigno S. Aquino III, Former President of Philippines
Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III (born February 8, 1960) also known as Noynoy Aquino is the fifteenth President of the Philippines and is concurrently the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Aquino is a fourth-generation politician: his great-grandfather, Servillano “Mianong” Aquino, served as a delegate to the Malolos Congress; his grandfather, Benigno Aquino, Sr., held several legislative positions from 1919–44; and his parents were former President Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Aquino is a member of the Liberal Party.
Born in Manila, Aquino graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 1981 and joined his family in their exile in the United States shortly thereafter. He returned to the Philippines in 1983 shortly after the assassination of his father and held several positions working in the private sector. In 1998, he was elected to the House of Representatives as Representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac province. He was subsequently re-elected to the House in 2001 and 2004. In 2007, having been barred from running for re-election to the House due to the term limit, he was elected to the Senate in the 14th Congress of the Philippines.
Following the death of his mother on August 1, 2009, many people began calling on Aquino to run for president. On September 9, 2009, Aquino officially announced he would be a candidate in the 2010 presidential election, held on May 10, 2010.
On June 9, 2010, the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Aquino the winner of the 2010 presidential election.
On June 30, 2010, at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, Aquino was sworn into office as the fifteenth President of the Philippines, succeeding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, by Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III was born on February 8, 1960 in Manila. Aquino is the third of the five children of Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was then the Vice Governor of Tarlac province, and Corazon Aquino. He has four sisters, Maria Elena (Ballsy) Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon (Pinky) Aquino-Abellada, Victoria Eliza (Viel) Aquino-Dee, and Kristina Bernadette (Kris) Aquino-Yap. He is also the first bachelor Philippine President.
From 1965 to 1981, Aquino attended Ateneo de Manila University from elementary to college.
Eleven months after Aquino’s father, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., was arrested and detained for “advocating the overthrow of the government by force or violence”, Ninoy was brought before a military tribunal in Moran Hall, Fort Bonifacio in August 1973. On August 25, 1973, Ninoy wrote a letter to his son, Noynoy from Fort Bonifacio at 11:10 p.m., giving advice to his son;
“The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.
There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.
Son, the ball is now in your hands.”
In 1981, Aquino graduated from Ateneo de Manila University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Shortly after graduation, Aquino joined his family in Newton, Massachusetts, in exile.
In 1983, after two years in exile in the United States, Aquino returned to the Philippines with his family, shortly after the assassination of his father on August 21, 1983. Aquino had a short tenure as a member of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, working as an assistant of the executive director of PBSP. Aquino later joined Mondragon Industries Philippines, Inc. as an assistant Retail Sales Supervisor and assistant promotions manager for Nike Philippines, Inc.
From 1986 to 1992, during the presidency of his mother, Aquino joined the Intra-Strata Assurance Corporation, a company owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta Jr., as vice president.
On August 28, 1987, eighteen months into the presidency of Aquino’s mother, rebel soldiers led by Gregorio Honasan staged an unsuccessful coup attempt, attempting to siege Malacañang Palace. Aquino was two blocks from the palace when he came under fire. Three of Aquino’s four security escorts were killed, and the last was wounded protecting him. Aquino himself was hit by five bullets, one of which is still embedded in his neck.
From 1993 to 1998, Aquino worked for Central Azucarera de Tarlac, the sugar refinery in charge of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita, as the executive assistant for administration from 1993 to 1996, then Aquino worked as manager for field services from 1996 to 1998