Duterte: Once I'm president, I'll behave

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Are the days of a foul-mouthed, tactless Rodrigo Duterte numbered?

The presidential race frontrunner promised he would be more behaved once he takes his oath of office as the 16th president of the Philippines. Partial election results show him with a comfortable lead over his rivals. (READ: Results of 2016 Philippine elections)

As of 10:39 am Tuesday, May 10, Duterte had 15,245,930 votes based on partial, unofficial results from 90.63% of precincts, according to the the Commission on Elections (Comelec) transparency server. Administration bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas II was second at 9,183,938 votes.

"Grant me this little [time], to banter with you Filipinos. Pero 'pag presidente na ako, hindi ko gawin 'yan syempre, behaved talaga. Ang problema 'yung barong," he said while a guest at Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's television show early morning on May 10.

(But when I'm president, I won't do that, I'll behave. The problem is the barong.)

He says he has one month to "enjoy" his freedom to speak whatever way he wants. True enough, he did not hesitate to curse profusely during the show.

"I’ll just ask for your understanding kasi my panahon is umiiksi, para magbehave na talaga. Good manners and conduct, bagsak talaga ako diyan (because my time is short, I'll really behave. I failed at good manners and conduct). I’m enjoying my few days, it’s about one month from now, it's June 31st, I will be taking my oath of office if indeed I won the elections," he said. (He probably meant June 30.)

Duterte spoke of his promise to his family as well. His common-law wife Cieleto "Honeylet" Avanceña weighed in on it.

"'Yung character niya during the campaign, it was very appropriate. Kailangan he has to be tough. Pero ngayon, iba na 'yung ano, you notice sabi niya, hindi na raw siya magmumura. Sabi ko sa kanya, 'ay naku magugustuhan 'yan ng nanay mo,'" she told Rappler.

(His character during the campaign was appropriate because he has to be tough. But now, he said, he won't be cursing so much. I told him, 'your mom will like that.')

Avanceña assured Filipinos that though Duterte may appear to shoot from the hip when speaking in public, he won't endanger the presidency with his mouth.

"You know what, Mayor Duterte has so much respect for the position, for the presidency," she said.

Duterte's loose tongue got him in a lot of trouble on the campaign trail, beginning with his Pope Francis curse until his controversial remark on rape. (READ: The rapture of Rodrigo Duterte)

His verbal volleys directed at United States, Australian, Indian, and Mexican ambassadors have also worried some voters.

But throughout the campaign season, Duterte refused to apologize for his foul mouth saying it is part of his identity. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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