These two men definitely have similarities, which the media, public and private persons have used deductively to come up with the idea that president-elect Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City, Philippines is indeed the ill-fated twin of Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump of New York City.
Truth be told, both men are a lot different than they’re alike. We Pinoys can’t help but take with contempt the idea that they’re more alike than not, more so the idea that our president-elect is worse than Trump.
True. Both have a penchant for exaggeration, vowing to take up colossal tasks as deporting millions of illegal immigrants or cleaning up the country from crimes and drugs in three months. Both have earned international ire and attention for their thoughtless, repulsive remarks. Both are womanizers, infidels, to say the least. Both had behavior problems while they were in school too.
Despite these however, it’s ridiculous to think Duterte is the Trump of the East. If anything, he is by far the better man and even so the better public servant.
- Duterte doesn’t have daddy’s money
The Republican presidential front-runner was born to a philanthropist mother and a successful real estate developer father. When his father died in 1999, Trump supposedly inherited $75 million (25% of his father’s estate of $300 million). In 1968, Trump was 22 and already had a net worth of $200,000 (equivalent to over $1 million in 2015), which helped established his financial success early in life. Trump had a business background and he used his knowledge and experience to further his empire.
Meanwhile, President Duterte, despite being the son of two professionals (a lawyer-politician father who became governor of Davao and a school teacher mother), Duterte did not live as lavishly. There is no telling how much money he inherited from his parents, but according to the latest SALN he filed in April 29, 2016, Duterte has a total net worth of P23.5 million (or around $500,000 in May 2016). He has a dollar account with $5,000 in it, which he hadn’t touched since March 2014, and his peso account only had about P17,000 as of March 2016, which grew to more than P128,000 due to anonymous deposits after the political opposition’s disclosure of alleged anomalous Duterete accounts with BPI.
Today, Forbes currently values Trump at $4.5 billion, although the real estate tycoon would like everyone to believe he is worth double that (at $10 billion). Yes, like Duterte, Trump does like to amplify and exaggerate things. He even said his net worth fluctuates with his own feelings. Trump is a savvy salesman, Forbes reported, and he likes to paint himself big every time – must be compensating for something unseen?
Taking Trump’s net worth of P210.15 billion ($4.5 billion X 46.7 exchange rate) over Duterte’s P23.50 million, this would make Trump 8,942.55 times richer than Duterte – more so if he “feels” like it.
- Duterte lives frugally, drives a cab, and was never bankrupt
Trump may be a billionaire, but he played with the US bankruptcy laws to “trim down” and get away with some of his debts, not once, not twice, but four times. Although all four bankruptcies had a substantial blow to his image and finances, Trump was adamant to say he has “taken advantage of the laws” just like everybody else would, adding the filings were “just business.”
In the Philippines, most Pinoys know that Duterte lives frugally, and so it’s nearly impossible for him to go bankrupt. Unlike many politicians in the country, Duterte is content residing in an ordinary house. A typical Filipino, Duterte sleeps under a mosquito net, which shields him from the annoying flying insects at night. If Duterte had any indulgence, it would be his footwear collection, which is actually not much (around 20 pairs), yet he admits this meager collection is what he has in common with Imelda Marcos. The latter of course holds the record for the most pair of shoes owned by an individual “courtesy” of the people’s money.
Duterte even drives a taxicab by night to boost his salary a bit, but it was ultimately to covertly patrol the streets of his city in the wee hours of the night and make sure that all is well. I’m pretty sure, the white American business mogul couldn’t humble himself this low or even drive himself.
Most Pinoys have already seen Duterte’s humble house, so take a look at Trump’s $100 million penthouse instead for better contrast.
- Trump had always been eyeing the presidential seat, Duterte hadn’t until lately
As early as 1988, two years into Duterte’s vice mayoral position in Davao City, Trump was already giving hints of his presidential inclinations (He was even thought to run alongside George H. W. Bush). He continuously hinted at entering politics over the years. Sometime in March 2015, good old Trump was devious enough to call on all political press to cover his announcement of forming a presidential exploratory committee – a faux presidential campaign.
He did not make his candidacy official until June 16, 2015, when he finally announced his presidential bid, and eventually became the presumptive nominee under the Republican Party on May this year.
On the contrary, Duterte thinks of him running for president a “wild dream.” Despite all the unsolicited forerunning campaigns people did for him, he said he doesn’t aspire for the position. Tables were turned when Duterte finally ran for president replacing PDP-Laban’s bet, Martin Diño. And the rest is as they say, history.
- Trump claims having very impressive IQ, Duterte claims having only common sense
Sorry folks, but Trump isn’t one to concede defeat, not if it’s a battle of the brains. He twitted in May 2013 that his “IQ is one of the highest –and you all know it!” As if that were not enough, in November 2015 he claimed being “much smarter” than conservative pundits George Will and Karl Rove having gone to a “better college.”
Well, we can’t help but agree somewhat because if he can make millions and may even become the next US president, then he really is something. But to say Duterte is the Trump of the East is absurd because Duterte boasts of having only common sense.
“I do not have the brilliance of (Ferdinand) Marcos nor the smartness of (Fidel) Ramos, or the abilities of Miriam (Santiago). But if I become president, I will rule with common sense and a good heart.” – Rodrigo R. Duterte
- Trump wants Muslims banned, Duterte wants to work with and for Muslim Filipinos
The US Republican presidential candidate is very vocal about his advocacy to ban ALL Muslims from traveling to the US. We’re pretty sure that the 3.3 million Muslims in America don’t want to stagnate. When they do get out of the country, can they come back freely? What about their visiting families and friends?
Before even winning the elections, Trump had a taste of his own medicine. The newly elected mayor of London is a Muslim, and labeled Trump’s ban proposal an “ignorant view of Islam.” In reply, Trump offered an exemption for Mayor Sadiq Khan, which the latter refused in view of everyone sharing the same background. A move we Pinoys all know too well as “TRAPO” (literally a dirty rag) or traditional politician – something Duterte is far from being.
Duterte is the exact opposite. Why do you think Muslim groups support Duterte’s presidency? Because they believe that he and he alone is the only person who can bring peace and unity to the Muslim community and the rest of war-stricken Mindanao. He even said that the Muslims are lucky if he wins.
- Trump’s Mission Impossible: Getting Rid of Illegal Immigrants, Duterte’s: Drugs and Corruption
Aside from Muslims visiting the US, illegal immigrants are also an eyesore for Trump – at least according to him but reports of the Trump Tower getting a hand from undocumented immigrants got out. He drafted an Immigration Reform meant to make America great again by deporting every illegal immigrant from his home country and making Mexico pay for a permanent border wall that would separate America and Mexico, among other things. This is such a monumental task considering that a mass deportation would cost the American government about $114 billion and shrink its economy by nearly 6%, or $1.6 trillion, by 2035. It’s doubtful that The Donald would use his billions to partially fund this mission.
For Duterte, his monumental task would be to eliminate drugs and crime within the first three to six months of his term as president. Absurd and seemingly impossible, but hey more than 15 million Pinoys bought the idea and voted for the guy. Maybe it helps that he has Davao City (the city he has run for seemingly forever) as a precedent.
- Duterte is a marketing/political genius
Winning the presidency with only a fraction of the spend of his competition can only mean one thing, Duterte is no doubt a genius at getting ROI. While rival candidates used everything in their powers and funded their multi-million worth of campaigning, Duterte used creativity and strategy right from being the last to announce his candidacy making more people clamor for him.
It’s kind of like a performer’s motto of always leaving the audience wanting for more although in this case, he pushed this further by implementing the motto right from the start of the “show”.
Also kind of reminds us of an old Jesus teaching: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
And while Duterte accepts volunteer jobs to aid his candidacy and public donations, even piggybanks from ordinary folks, Trump is ruling out public financing, saying “(he doesn’t) like the idea of taking taxpayer money to run a campaign” – that it’s “inappropriate.”
On a side note, it’s both a shame and a surprise that even the great and mighty Donald Trump was outspent by some of Duterte’s rivals. Trump is supposedly spending P13.45 million a month, but PH presidentiables Roxas spent P70.38 million a month, Binay P63.23 million, and Poe P63.14 million. As for Duterte, his TV ads cost him P10.49 million a month (P115,423,000 / 11 months). For a developing country such as the Philippines, and much smaller than the US, this political spending is outrageous.
Trump is running an exceptionally cost-efficient campaign, as well, and self-funded at that. He has kept his spending very low, ensuring a higher ROI like the businessman that he is. Although he is number one in the polls against Republicans vying for nomination, it remains to been seen if he can ultimately be number one during election day. At this point, Duterte takes this criteria from Trump no doubt.
- Duterte is the great unifier, backed by ordinary Filipinos from more than 6,000 islands
Unlike Trump, whose advocacies against illegal immigrants and Muslims create division, Duterte is a man for peace and unity, particularly in war-stricken Mindanao. It was obvious in the rallies how much the people support his candidacy. Even when he refused at the start, people were clamoring for him to run. Even when he did major blunders, people remained supportive, saying they’d rather a foul mouth president than a bad government.
For the Muslim Group, Khayra Ummah Islamic Call and Guidance Inc., with some 8 million members, Duterte is the catalyst for change in the country, and they are supporting him “because he is for peace and unity.”
Unlike the US, the Philippines is an archipelago, and its vast division of islands, cultures, and religions can truly be a challenge for the president, more so with the presence of terrorist groups in southern Philippines. But while Duterte has the heart for the Moro and a clear platform for ensuring peace and progress in Mindanao, Duterte also got endorsements from other religious sects in the country making him seemingly break religious boundaries as well.
- Duterte is a doer, he walks the talk
Trump doesn’t have political or public-service background whatsoever that could be his stepping stone towards claiming the US presidential seat. If he wins, this will be his first experience, and a tough one at that. Whoever said being president was a piece of cake? He may be the presumptive GOP nominee, but what proof do Americans have that he can take up the presidency? There may be politics in business, and vice versa, but ruling an entire country with just a business background and a few bankruptcies – that is highly doubtful.
Meanwhile, Duterte is a doer unafraid to get his hands dirty or in this case, bloodied, as he admitted killing 3 criminals.
- Duterte is a humble, modest man with a proven track record
Duterte shouldn’t be compared with Trump. It’s like comparing apples with cats. Not even close. If anything, as a populist left-leaning leader of the masses, Duterte has more in common with Bernie Sanders.
Duterte’s humility and modesty are nothing like Trump’s pride and extravagance. Duterte has Davao City as his exhibit. Trump has towers and buildings and TV shows – these are all PRs, nothing to substantiate his efficacy as a public servant but a lot to say about his own interests. A more well informed writer from Time has even listed four remarkable things about Duterte that leaves Trump in the dust.
Duterte’s bid and victory was fueled by the people’s desire for change – for a clean government, and a peaceful and prosperous country. Trumps popularity is fueled by the hints of political futility and dysfunction in the US. But really – does America need Trump that much?
Call him what you will – The Punisher, Maverick, Iron Fist, Executioner or the Philippines’ Trump – it doesn’t really matter because the majority of the Filipino people have spoken and they chose Rodrigo R. Duterte as their 16th president.