Rodrigo Duterte is sworn in as president. Source: YouTube
Rodrigo Duterte, the outspoken former mayor of Davao, has been sworn in as Philippine president after his landslide victory in May.
Duterte, who was mayor of the city once called the “murder capital” of the archipelago, fought the election promising to end corruption, as well as taking a hard line on crime, including a pledge to bring back the death penalty.
“The Punisher” or “Duterte Harry” has shunned the traditional public inauguration and rally, instead opting to be sworn-in with a smaller audience of 600 guests in the Malacanang Palace in Manila.
Only state media was permitted to attend the event after the 71-year-old said that “just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch”.
Duterte said he would end “the erosion of the people’s trust” as well as restating his pledge that “the fight [on crime] will be relentless and it will be sustained”.
He added: “I know that there are those who do not approve of my methods of fighting criminality. They say that my methods are unorthodox and verge on the illegal.
“My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind your work and I will mind mine.”
On the campaign trail, Duterte promised a “bloody war” on criminality in a country which, despite the economic growth of former president Benigno Aquino, has one of the highest crime rates in the world.
The former lawyer and state prosecutor advocated the extrajudicial shooting of drug dealers and other criminals saying: “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support.” He even promised medals.
Duterte also called Pope Francis a “son of a whore” after his visit to the country in January 2015.
The new president crimesays he will allow the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose corpse is displayed in a glass coffin his northern home province, to be buried at the national heroes’ cemetery. The plunder and human-rights violations under his dictatorship which ended in a 1986 revolt make this a controversial move. Duterte argued that those buried at the cemetery were not all heroes and added that he would leave it up to the military whether to provide full funeral honours. The burial, he said, “can be arranged immediately”.