Firebrand Duterte warns of ‘rough ride’ ahead as he is sworn in as president

Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte warned of a “rough ride” after being sworn in as the Philippines’ president on Thursday, promising a relentless war on crime and corruption. After taking his oath before a small audience inside the Malacanang presidential palace, Mr Duterte signalled there would be some dark days during his six years in office. “The ride will be rough but come join me just the same,” Mr Duterte said in a short speech, with his opening remarks focused on familiar themes about the need to instil discipline in a corruption-infested society.

The problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency are corruption, both in the high and low echelons in government, criminality in the streets and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order,

Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte, 71, won last month’s election in a landslide after a campaign dominated by foul-mouthed threats to kill tens of thousands of criminals and tirades against the nation’s elite. His vision includes reintroducing the death penalty, with hanging his preferred method of execution. He said he would offer bounties for the bodies of drug dealers and urged ordinary Filipinos to kill suspected criminals. His remarks have alarmed human rights campaigners, who fear a spate of vigilante killings spreading across the country.

As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not

Mr Duterte