The Philippines is wrapping up its latest election.
Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of southern Davao city, is leading with over three-quarters of the votes already counted, according to the latest polls cited by BBC. Meanwhile, the AP reports that the unofficial vote count shows he won.
If Duterte wins, his victory will present “a massive political shift” in the country, according to the Associated Press.
Duterte, who has been nicknamed “the Trump of the East,” “Duterte Harry” (in a reference to Dirty Harry), and “The Punisher,” has grown quite popular following promises to get rid of poverty and bring down corruption.
Additionally, he’s also been credited with turning Davao into one of the safest cities in the Philippines. And he had promised to get rid of crime nationwide within half a year, if elected.
However, some investors have gotten a bit nervous over some of his controversial comments and reports about his time as mayor:
- Although he’s built a reputation for fighting crime during his 22 year run as mayor, he has also been accused of ordering extrajudicial killings in order to achieve this, according to the AP.
- He promised that, if elected, he would execute 100,000 criminals and toss them into Manila Bay, according to CNN.
- “All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you,” Duterte said at a rally, according to the AP. “I have no patience, I have no middle ground, either you kill me or I will kill you idiots.”
- John Oliver showed a news clip of Duterte saying in a nationally televised interview, “Yes, of course. I must admit I have killed. … Three months early on I killed about… three people.”
- In early April, he said at a campaign rally about a 36-year-old Australian missionary named Jacqueline Hamill, who was gang raped, shot, and had her throat slashed in 1989 by saying: “I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful American actress. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.” He’s referring to himself when he says “the mayor”. (He said the words were “not a joke” but rather an expression of his “utter rage” over the event, according to TIME.)
- Capital Economics’ Senior Asia Economist Gareth Leather also noted that he appeared to praise the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, who was the leader of the Philippines from 1965-1981. His regime was criticised for “corruption and for its suppression of democratic processes,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
“Financial markets have suffered in recent weeks as the likelihood of a Duterte victory has increased,” observed Leather.
“Further controversial comments, renewed policy instability or large-scale corruption scandal would quickly dent the country’s image.”
Notably, the presumptive president hasn’t spoken too much about the economy, which suggests that it’s difficult to forecast what his presumed victory would mean for the country’s economy.
“His apparent lack of interest and knowledge on the subject suggests that economic reform is unlikely to be high up his list of priorities when he becomes president,” argued Leather.
However, his “apparent lack of interest and knowledge” might not necessarily be a huge issue — provided he appoints good advisors.
Additionally, “he has also made some encouraging comments on seeking the removal of foreign ownership restrictions,” added Leather. “And from the few comments he made during the campaign, he does appear to recognise the importance of not gambling with the health of the economy.”