Rodrigo Duterte: From ‘Punisher’ to Philippines President

Updated 10:39 PM EDT, Mon September 5, 2016
Presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leaves the voting precint after casting his vote at Daniel Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao on May 9, 2016.
NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leaves the voting precint after casting his vote at Daniel Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao on May 9, 2016.
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This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit. 

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This combination image of two photographs taken on September 5, 2016 shows, at left, US President Barack Obama speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and at right, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during a press conference in Davao City, the Philippines, prior to his departure for Laos to attend the ASEAN summit. US President Barack Obama on September 5 called a planned meeting with Rodrigo Duterte into question after the Philippine leader launched a foul-mouthed tirade against him. / AFP / Saul LOEB AND MANMAN DEJETO (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB,MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference in Davao City, in southern island of Mindanao on May 26, 2016. Explosive incoming Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has launched a series of obscenity-filled attacks on the Catholic Church, branding local bishops corrupt "sons of whores" who are to be blamed for the nation's fast-growing population. / AFP / MANMAN DEJETO (Photo credit should read MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Blunt former mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected Philippines President in June 2016

Since entering office, he has waged a brutal war on drugs in the country

(CNN) —  

He’s caused outrage with inflammatory comments on the rape and murder of an Australian missionary, called US President Obama a “son of a bitch” and told police they can kill drug dealers if they fight back.

Controversial former mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected as president of the Philippines in a landslide victory on May 6, winning almost twice as much of the vote as his nearest rival.

Since he won, more than 1,900 people have been killed, including 700 during police operations, as part of a vicious drug war being waged on Duterte’s behalf on the streets of the Philippines.

But who was the hardline Philippines leader before he became president?

’The Punisher’

As mayor of Davao City, a metropolis of 1.5 million people on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, Duterte first made his name nationally for his no-nonsense approach to crime.

He advocates a hard-line approach to criminals and claims to have drastically reduced Davao’s previously high rates of violent crime.

But along with this reputation came allegations that he was connected to extrajudicial killings by a well coordinated group of vigilantes, earning him the moniker “The Punisher” by Time Magazine in 2002.

Duterte himself confirmed the claims during a regular live weekly TV show broadcast locally in the Philippines last year.

“Me? They are