Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has continued to hit the international headlines, hurling insults at Barack Obama, threatening to end the Philippines-US alliance, and waging a brutal war on drugs that is earning him condemnation from around the world.
Al Jazeera‘s 101 East‘s Rodrigo Duterte: The President’s Report Card offers a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most controversial leaders. In this revealing documentary, 101 East senior presenter and reporter, Steve Chao spends time with the President as he continues his ruthless crackdown on drugs, hunts down Abu Sayaaf militants, and launches an expletive-ridden attack on the Philippines’ long-time ally, the US.
With the type of access not granted to any other media, Chao follows Duterte on his busy Presidential schedule, travels with him on his private jet, visits the Presidential palace and even shares in Duterte’s rare moments of relaxation. In a series of explosive interviews, Duterte shows he has no intention of backing down from his uncompromising crackdown on drugs. “During the campaign, I said I would stop corruption… I will suppress drugs, I will suppress crime… and I am doing it.”
The European Union, the US and the United Nations have condemned allegations of extrajudicial killings but Duterte is unrepentant. “What is their f****** problem?” he asks Al Jazeera. “I am not here to serve the UN Rapporteur or the EU. I am here to serve my own countrymen. Who are they to me… they are nothing.”
He admits, “I never went to a school called the Academy for a Statesman. I am not a statesman; I do not aspire to be one. I just would like to be an ordinary President who can f*** you … if you f *** with me”.
“If you destroy my country, I will kill you,” he warns drug dealers.
He also says he wants the US out of the Philippines, signaling an end to their long-standing alliance. “I believe they should be out, because of their bullying,” he says. “Somebody has to stand up against them.”
Chao gets a brutally close look at the human cost of Duterte’s war on drugs, arriving at a bloody crime scene just moments after yet another police shooting. He finds a young man shot dead on the street, still wearing handcuffs.
Chao also meets a hitman who claims he was a member of Duterte’s personal death squad for more than 20 years and carried out gruesome killings on his behalf. “I couldn’t do anything without his orders. I received a salary from City Hall,” says Edgar Matobato, who now fears for his life after testifying before the Philippines’ Senate. Matobato says he even witnessed Duterte pulling the trigger himself, a claim Duterte denies.
Chao travels to the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where Duterte is waging another war. Jolo is the heartland of Abu Sayaaf, a heavily armed group that has pledged allegiance to ISIL. With Duterte sending 10,000 troops to wipe them out, 101 East looks at whether he is likely to succeed.
In a surprising move, Duterte also tells 101 East that he will take in all of the world’s refugees. “They can always come here, and I will even welcome them. Until we are filled to the brim … I say send them to us.”
In this extraordinary episode, 101 East goes behind the scenes for an intimate look at one of the most controversial leaders in the world today.