In a drug war that has killed thousands, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has frequently incited violence and ordered police to shoot suspects dead. Analysts believe he will not face charges after stepping down on Thursday (Jun 30).

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, also known as Digong, and by the initials PRRD, is a Filipino lawyer and politician who is the 16th and incumbent president of the Philippines. Duterte is the first president of the Philippines to be from Mindanao and is the oldest person to assume office, beginning his term at age 71.

Duterte's signature drug-eradication policy has been widely condemned, prompting an international investigation into a possible crime against humanity.

However, the 77-year-old remains a powerful political force in the Philippines, with many people supporting his quick-fix solutions to crime.

Analysts said last month's election results strengthened Duterte's defense against potential prosecution after he leaves office.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the late dictator's son, won the presidency after forming a strong alliance with Duterte's daughter, Sara, who was elected vice president.

Marcos Jr. has backed Duterte's drug war and has indicated that his government will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into the killings.

"The election basically decided that there would not be a serious investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's role in the drug war for the next six years," said the director for business intelligence at PSA Philippines Consultancy, Greg Wyatt.

Duterte, a self-proclaimed killer, instructed officers to fatally shoot narcotics suspects if their lives were in danger.

He defended the crackdown, saying it had saved families and prevented the Philippines from turning into a "narco-politics state".

According to rights advocates, Duterte has created an environment of impunity, and tens of thousands of people have been killed by police, hitmen, and vigilantes, even without proof of drug involvement.

Only three officers have been convicted of murdering a drug suspect.

Under pressure from the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court, the government has investigated approximately 300 cases of drug operations that resulted in deaths.

Menardo Guevarra, the Justice Secretary, told AFP in October that a review of 52 cases had cast doubt on the officers' common claim of self-defense.

Charges have been filed in five cases.

Lawyers representing victims' families have vowed to sue Duterte in the Philippines after June 30. They admit, however, that the odds are stacked against them.

"We are not that hopeful but it's worth a shot," Edre Olalia said, president of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers.

In the creaky judicial system, Olalia claims it can take years to resolve a case. Lawyers are also having difficulty gaining access to evidence held by police.