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Philippines Presidential Frontrunner Promises Viagra Use, ‘Bloody’ Presidency

“Relax. I am not the man portrayed to be by some,” Philippines presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told a room full of business leaders before offering details of his Viagra use and vowing a “bloody” presidency.

Speaking before the Philippines’s elite Makati Business Club, Duterte, who boasts a substantial lead in the latest presidential election polls, opened his speech with a promise to eradicate street crime nationwide, using Davao City as an example. Duterte has been mayor of Davao, on the southern island of Mindanao, for 22 years, and promises the solution to rampant crime.

“Progress and development cannot happen in a place haunted by insecurity caused by criminal and lawless elements,” he told the audience, promising to increase the salary of police and soldiers.

The talk then took a bizarre turn, calling everyone in the room “womanizers” and defending his reputation for no-strings-attached trysts. “I was separated from my wife. I’m not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever,” the 71-year-old said, adding confirmation that “when I take Viagra, it stands up.”

Returning to the subject of crime, Duterte vowed a “bloody” presidency. “I will use the military and the police to go out and arrest them, hunt for them and if they offer a violent resistance… I will simply say, ‘kill them all so we can finish this problem,'” he added. To criminals listening, he said bluntly, “I will kill you,” to applause. He also vowed “1,000 pardons a day” to police who kill criminals, and a special pardon to himself: “Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte.”

The only death Duterte appeared not to sanction was a call to war with the Chinese military, which has spent the past two years usurping Philippine territory in the South China Sea. “We cannot go to war. It will be slaughter,” he warned, arguing instead that he would use diplomacy to solve the issue.

The Philippines is currently awaiting the verdict of a case on the contested South China Sea territories at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China’s government has promised to ignore the outcome of the case regardless of whether it is favorable to them. Only the nations of Gambia, Laos, and Cambodia support China’s claims in the region.

Duterte also criticized the United States and Australia “or even Japan” for not interfering in construction by Chinese forces in the Spratly and Paracel Island chains. Citing his concern for the lives of Philippine troops, Duterte has previously promised he would personally jet ski to the South China Sea and defy China before sending in soldiers.

Business leaders attending Wednesday’s speech told the Philippine Star they left his remarks with confusion. “I was looking forward to his presentation on economic policies and programs… but there was no time,” the chairman of the MBC, Ramon del Rosario Jr., said.

“Clearly the two [other presidential candidates to attend the forum, Grace Poe and Mar Roxas] knew this was a business group that wanted to hear more about economic policies and programs and they made it a point to address those issues. In the case of Mayor Duterte, his passion is really law and order and he chose to focus on that. And that’s fine, that is his prerogative,” he added.

Duterte attracted the largest crowd of the three candidates to address the club.

The Davao City mayor is running on a law-and-order ticket at a time in which radical Islamic terrorism has become a growing concern in the Philippines, particularly on Davao’s island of Mindanao. The Islamic State affiliate Abu Sayyaf operates out of Mindanao, and this week beheaded a Western hostage as revenge for not receiving a ransom they had demanded in exchange for the hostages. At least two others are being help captive. Abu Sayyaf has also increased pirating activities against Philippine and Indonesian ships in the region. The U.S. Department of State has warned American citizens to stay away from Mindanao if possible.

Outgoing president Benigno Aquino has vowed to “neutralize” Abu Sayyaf, though he has not offered a public plan for doing so. Duterte’s plan is to double the salaries of police and soldiers and offer them more advanced weapons and fewer rules on when to attack criminals, as well as protection from prosecution for police brutality.

Duterte currently boasts 35 percent of the nationa vote in the latest Pulse Asia poll. Grace Poe is running in second place with 25 percent of the vote. The elections are scheduled to be held on May 9.

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