Duterte was born on March 28, 1945 at Maasin, Leyte to Vicente G. Duterte, who served as Governor of Davao and Soledad Roa, a school teacher and a civic leader.
He spent his elementary days at the Sta. Ana Elementary School in Davao City, where he graduated in 1956. He finished his secondary education at the Holy Cross of Digos. For his tertiary education, he took up a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, where he graduated in 1968. He also obtained law degree from San Beda College in 1972. In the same year, he passed the bar exam.
Soledad R. Duterte is the mother of the former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and widow of the late Vicente Duterte who served as Provincial Governor from 1959 to 1965. Mrs. Duterte was born on November 14, 1916 in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte to Eleno Roa and Fortunata Gonzales. She finished her elementary and secondary education in her native town. She pursued her college education at the Philippine Normal School in Manila in 1939. She was connected with the Bureau of Public Schools as a teacher when she met and married lawyer Vicente Duterte of Cebu. The Dutertes came to Davao in 1951.Vicente as a lawyer engaged in private-practice, while Soledad as a teacher taught in the public school. Mrs. Duterte, however, but retired as a supervisor in 1952 when her lawyer-husband joined politics. She left government service owing to the demands of a politician-husband. As wife of the governor, she became familiar with the social and economic problems of the people, especially the out-of-school youth, women, children and the disabled.
After the 1986 People Power Revolution, Duterte was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor. In 1988, he ran for mayor and won, serving until 1998. He set a precedent by designating deputy mayors that represented the Lumad and Moro in the city government, which was later copied in other parts of the country. In 1998, because he was term-limited to run again for mayor, he ran for the House of Representatives and won as Congressman of the 1st District of Davao City. In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was reelected in 2004 and in 2007. In 2010, he was elected vice mayor, succeeding his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was elected as mayor.
Under Duterte’s leadership, Davao City has maintained its peace and stability. The city’s crime rate dropped so dramatically that local tourism organizations dub it as “one of the most peaceful cities in Southeast Asia“.Duterte, who has been nicknamed “The Punisher” by Time magazine, has been criticized by human rights groups and by Amnesty International for tolerating extrajudicial killings of crime suspects.