he is the ultimate outsider:
Duarte is not from one of the old, rich and corrupt families that have dominated Filipino politics for centuries. He is a lawyer, served as a prosecutor and then mayor and considered quite competent, but very unorthodox and not bothered with breaking laws to do what his constituents want.
remember the kerfuffle about death squads?
Put it into context:
His most alarming tactic was to approve the use of death squads to murder criminals caught in the act. In the past bribes and a well-connected lawyer could get the worst criminals set free. No more.
The use of death squads by powerful men was not unusual in the Philippines, especially in the south. So Duarte was able to get away with it. Soon people realized that he maintained control of the death squads and the crime rate plunged after about a thousand accused criminals were murdered.
killing criminals "caught in the act" is something we often see here too...but it is not the same as sending hit squads against whistleblowers, reporters, leaders of unions/farmer's groups, or political rivals, as is done in our area with impunity.
And Duterte doesn't trust the US after a bomber got out of jail free thanks to the FBI...or maybe not.