Philippines’ Duterte to Keep Bar Hours, Commute to Manila

Davao City Mayor and Presidential Candidate Rodrigo Duterte Attends Election Rally

Rodrigo Duterte

Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg
  • Duterte’s victory certified; Robredo confirmed vice president
  • Duterte says he needs to sleep in his own bed, use his shower

Philippines’ President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will maintain hours more in keeping with running a bar than running a country, saying he doesn’t plan on turning up to work until 1 p.m. each day.

"I don’t care about your 8 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule," Duterte said Saturday at a news conference in Davao City that began around midnight, what he said will be his normal time to knock off. "I’ll be sleeping by then. How can you make me work?”

Set to be sworn in as president on June 30, Duterte said he doesn’t plan on giving up the creature comforts of his home in Davao, where he has served as mayor for more than two decades. He vowed to catch a two-hour-long commercial flight to and from Manila each day until he adjusts to life in the capital’s Malacañang Palace.

“Duterte doesn’t want to follow protocol that he thinks is illogical,” said Ramon Casiple, executive director at the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform in Manila. “The Presidential Security Group will have its work cut out for them because of Duterte’s daily commute.”

Killing Criminals

Duterte, the maverick 71-year-old who comfortably won presidential elections held on May 9., has shaken up the Philippine political scene with his brash style and often vulgar speech. He earned votes by vowing to ruthlessly crush crime and corruption -- going so far as threatening to kill 100,000 criminals and feed their bodies to the fish in Manila Bay.

Duterte had his victory officially confirmed today by the National Board of Canvassers, which also declared Congresswoman Leni Robredo the winner of a close race for vice-president against Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the former dictator. The two were separated by more than 260,000 votes and Marcos has refused to concede.

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As Davao mayor, Duterte has been known for his late working hours and unconventional behavior. In 2003, he drove a taxi in the middle of the night and surprised a passenger when she hailed the cab, news website Rappler reported.

‘Comfort Zone’

Duterte indicated Saturday that he planned to commute from Davao for at least the first few days of his administration. “My bed is here. My room is here. My home is my comfort zone. It’s important that I can sleep and take a shower comfortably,” he said.

He won’t be the first Southeast Asian leader to make headlines with a plan to eschew the trappings of presidential travel. Early in his term, Indonesian President Joko Widodo made a show of flying in economy class on commercial airlines, including to his son’s graduation in Singapore in 2014.

While Duterte pledged before the election to commute to work by plane each day, he also promised to be at his office in Manila well before midday, and to save taxpayer money by using the private jet of his friend, religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.

“I will have breakfast on the plane and be at my office at the start of office hours. I leave (for Davao) also at end of office hours,” the mayor said in January, in comments reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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