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Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with many hoping his maverick style will energize the country but others fearing he could undercut one of Asia's liveliest democracies amid his threats to kill criminals en masse.

The new Philippine foreign secretary made sensitive remarks Thursday about territorial disputes in the South China Sea that were broadcast live by the state-run TV network before it abruptly cut away from its coverage of the new president's first Cabinet meeting.

Businesspeople. Academics with differing ideologies. Representatives of the Philippine Left. Retired police and military officers. Lesser-known personalities. Not surprisingly, some presidential friends.

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Real change is coming, and the ride will be rough. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, sworn in yesterday as the nation’s 16th president, invited people to join him in the ride, as he vowed to restore public trust in government and its leaders.

A day after stepping down from Malacañang, former president Benigno Aquino III is set to face criminal charges for the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos during the Mamasapano clash on Jan. 25 last year.

The Aquino administration ended yesterday unable to meet its target to secure the conviction of the principal accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is ready to engage and work with newly installed President Duterte.

President Duterte yesterday said he would not “taunt or flaunt” a favorable ruling on a highly sensitive legal challenge against Beijing over a South China Sea dispute.

There was a short, colorful and lively welcome from his neighbors and supporters, who tied yellow ribbons everywhere and sang the song about it, when he arrived at No. 25 Times street before noon yesterday.

Shut out of the presidential inauguration, Vice President Leni Robredo called on Filipinos yesterday to unite and work together so they can achieve greater things.

Taking his oath yesterday, the first expression of thanks from Rodrigo Duterte went not to the people who voted for him, but to former president Fidel Ramos.

Departing from tradition, neither President Duterte’s former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, nor his current partner, Honeylet Avanceña, was asked to go to the stage to witness the new Chief Executive take his oath before Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes yesterday.

Ahead of the highly anticipated ruling of the United Nations High Tribunal on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China over maritime rows, President Duterte yesterday vowed to respect international treaties and obligations entered into by the Philippines.

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