Duterte Among ‘World’s Most Powerful People’ – Forbes

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte.



Manila, Philippines, 16 Rabiul Awwal 1438/16 December 2016 (MINA) – President Duterte has been adjudged one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes magazine, which cited his tough stance on illegal drugs and criminality and his “tendency to say what he thinks no matter how raw.”

The Philippine leader ranked 70th among 74 persons in the list. The ranking was according to the number of people those in the list influence, the financial resources they control, the extent of their power in multiple spheres and how active they are in using that power.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, described by Duterte as his “idol,” ranked as the world’s most powerful person for the fourth consecutive year. US president-elect Donald Trump came in second, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping ranking third and fourth, respectively.

Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, ranked fifth on the list.

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Duterte was one of 11 new names in this year’s list. Others include British Prime Minister Theresa May (13th), Uber chief executive officer Travis Kalanick (64th), Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger (67th), US vice president-elect Mike Pence (69th) and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson (72nd).

Malacañang welcomed Duterte’s inclusion in the list and assured the public that he would continue to use his power for the good of the country.

“This brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Nearly all men can stand adversity; but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power’,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

“Much has been done in the first six months and much more will be done in the succeeding months and years. After all, the President’s heart is in the right place, and he has only the interests of the Filipino people and the nation in his mind first and foremost,” he added.

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Forbes noted that Duterte’s promise to put an end to the Philippines’ drug menace enabled him win the presidential race.

“The former mayor of Davao City was elected president of the Philippines in May 2016 on the strength of a campaign that promised the swift execution of drug users and other criminals, and his war on crime has already resulted in the killing of thousands of people,” Forbes said.

“Duterte’s tendency to say what he thinks, no matter how raw, also keeps him in the headlines.”

Forbes cited Duterte’s pronouncement that he would “separate” from the US, a statement that his officials would later on claim to be a mere reiteration of his desire to adopt an independent foreign policy.
Homophobic slurs 

The magazine also mentioned Duterte’s badmouthing outgoing US President Barack Obama. Duterte would later claim he was not attacking Obama personally when he made the remark.

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Forbes said Duterte “used homophobic slurs to describe political opponents,” apparently referring to the instance when he called former US ambassador Philip Goldberg “gay.” Duterte got angry with Goldberg after the envoy reacted negatively to his supposed joke about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City in 1989.

Goldberg said any statement that trivializes murder or rape should not be condoned, a remark that Duterte viewed as an attempt to meddle in Philippine politics.

Forbes also cited the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo from the Duterte Cabinet due to “major differences in principles and values” with the President.

Robredo quit as housing chief early this month after Duterte asked her to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)