Duterte is world’s 69th most powerful person – Forbes

Paterno Esmaquel II
Duterte is world’s 69th most powerful person – Forbes
(UPDATED) Forbes magazine cites President Rodrigo Duterte's 'raw and vulgar vocabulary' and his 'war on crime' that has killed thousands of Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Forbes magazine named Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as the 69th most powerful person in the world for 2018, joining a list of 75 leaders from various fields.

Forbes, a 101-year-old media giant based in the United States, disclosed its list of “The World’s Most Powerful People” on Tuesday, May 8.

Forbes cited Duterte’s “raw and vulgar vocabulary” that keeps him in the headlines, and his “war on crime.”

The magazine pointed out that Duterte was elected Philippine president “on the strength of a campaign that promised execution of drug dealers and other criminals.”

It said Duterte’s “war on crime” has since resulted in thousands of deaths. 

Based on police estimates, around 4,000 Filipinos have died in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, while opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV pegs it at 20,000 drug-related deaths.

Forbes magazine added, “Duterte’s raw and vulgar vocabulary keeps him in the headlines: he called Obama ‘son of a whore’ and has used homophobic slurs to describe opponents.”

In reaction to the Forbes list, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday, May 9, that Duterte “has many times acknowledged that the true source of his power is the people.”

“The anti-drug war, the pursuit of an independent foreign policy, the pro-poor policies, and programs of the Duterte administration, among others, are reflective of the current government’s advancing the welfare of the greatest number of our countrymen,” Roque said in a statement.

“The Presidency, in the mind of PRRD, begins and ends with public trust where real power emanates,” Roque added. 

Duterte was also part of the Forbes list of most powerful persons in 2016. He ranked 70th back then. 

How Forbes compiled the list

To compile its list of most powerful people, Forbes said it considered 4 dimensions:

  • the number of people over which a candidate wields power
  • the financial resources controlled by the candidate
  • the candidate’s power in multiple spheres
  • the candidate’s active use of power 

Forbes said its editors “ranked all of our candidates in each of these 4 dimensions of power, and those individual rankings were averaged into a composite score.”

This list was topped by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who “enjoys a cult of personality not seen since Chairman Mao.”

Xi dislodged Russian President Vladimir Putin from the top spot on the list. Putin is now number two.

The world’s 3rd most powerful person, according to the list, is US President Donald Trump, while the 4th is German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Duterte ranked higher than Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is the world’s 74th most powerful person based on this list. 

Duterte, 73, is the 11th oldest person on the list.

This comes after Time magazine recently featured him and other leaders in its cover story titled, “Rise of the Strongman.”

Saying Time portrayed him like a monster, Duterte said on Tuesday: “‘Tang ina itong Time magazine na ‘to, nilagay ako doon sa mga despot. Hindi naman ako—, diktador ba ako? Since when (Son of a bitch, this Time magazine, it placed me among the despots. I’m not—, am I a dictator? Since when)?” – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.