Duterte was born on March 28, 1945, in Maasin. His maternal grandfather was a Chinese immigrant from Xiamen, Fujian. His father was Vicente G. Duterte (1911–1968), a Cebuano lawyer, and his mother, Soledad Duterte (née Roa; 1916–2012), was a school teacher from Cabadbaran, Agusan and a civic leader of Maranao descent. Duterte's father was mayor of Danao, Cebu, and subsequently the provincial governor of (the then-undivided) Davao province. Rodrigo's cousin Ronald was mayor of Cebu City from 1983 to 1986. Ronald's father, Ramon Duterte, also held the position from 1957 to 1959. The Dutertes consider the Cebu-based political families of the Durano and the Almendras clan as relatives. Duterte also has relatives from the Roa clan in Leyte through his mother's side. Duterte's family lived in Maasin, and in his father's hometown in Danao, until he was four years old. The Dutertes initially moved to Mindanao in 1948 but still went back and forth to the Visayas until 1949. They finally settled in the Davao Region in 1950. Vicente worked as a lawyer engaged in private practice. Soledad worked as a teacher until 1952 when Vicente entered politics.
Duterte went to Laboon Elementary School in Maasin, for a year. He spent his remaining elementary days at the Santa Ana Elementary School in Davao City, where he graduated in 1956. He finished his secondary education in the High School Department of the then Holy Cross College of Digos (now Cor Jesu College) in today's city of Digos in the now defunct Davao province, after being expelled twice from previous schools, including one in Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) High School due to misconduct. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines in Manila. He obtained a law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972. In the same year, he passed the bar exam. Duterte eventually became Special Counsel at the City Prosecution Office in Davao City from 1977–79, Fourth Assistant City Prosecutor from 1979–81, Third Assistant City Prosecutor from 1981–83, and Second Assistant City Prosecutor from 1983–86.
Duterte has said that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a minor. After he was challenged by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and AdDU officials to name the priest and file a case against him, Duterte then revealed the priest's name as Fr. Mark Falvey, SJ (d. 1975). The Jesuits of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines confirmed that according to press reports in the United States, in May 2007, the Society of Jesus agreed to a tentative payout of USD16 million to settle claims that Falvey sexually abused at least nine children in Los Angeles from 1959 to 1975. Accusations against Falvey began in 2002, and he was never charged with a crime. Additionally in May 2008, the Diocese of Sacramento paid $100,000 settlement to a person allegedly raped and molested by Mark's brother, Fr. Arthur Falvey. However, it was not clearly indicated in the report if Mark Falvey was assigned at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao. When asked why he did not complain when the abuse supposedly happened, Duterte claimed that he was too young to complain about the priest's abuse and was intimidated by authorities at that time. He also stated that he never disclosed that information after he was expelled and moved to a different high school and especially not to his family.
Shooting of student at law school
Duterte stated at a rally in April 2016 that he shot a fellow student who had bullied him about his Visayan origin as well as other students of the same ethnicity, while at San Beda law college. He said "But the truth is, I'm used to shooting people. When we were about to graduate from San Beda, I shot a person." Duterte said that he shot the student in a corridor at the college when the said student called him names again. He later told a reporter that the student survived, but refused to answer any further questions about the incident.