POL­I­TICS: Duterte Ex­presses Re­gret After Curs­ing Obama P30

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Philip­pines leader Ro­drigo Duterte says he re­grets la­belling US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama a “son of a whore” be­fore the pair were due to meet on the side­lines of an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit. Mr Duterte said he re­gret­ted that his com­ments “came across as a per­sonal at­tack” on Mr Obama, after the White House can­celled a sched­uled meet­ing. The Philip­pines leader has been roundly crit­i­cised out­side his coun­try for a “war on drugs” that has killed about 2,400 peo­ple since he took of­fice two months ago. The White House had ear­lier said Mr Obama would not pull any punches on his con­cerns about hu­man rights abuses in the Philip­pines when meet­ing Mr Duterte. “Who is he to con­front me?” Mr Duterte had told jour­nal­ists ahead of the ASEAN sum­mit in Laos. “You must be re­spect­ful. Do not just throw away ques­tions and state­ments. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that fo­rum.” The Philip­pines Gov­ern­ment moved to soothe ten­sions between the na­tions after the meet­ing was can­celled.

“Pres­i­dent Duterte ex­plained that the press re­ports that Pres­i­dent Obama would ‘lec­ture’ him on ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings led to his strong com­ments, which in turn elicited con­cern,” the Gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment. “He re­grets that his re­marks to the press have caused much con­tro­versy.” In a sep­a­rate state­ment, Mr Duterte said he re­mained com­mit­ted to Manila’s al­liance with the United States. “Our pri­mary in­ten­tion is to chart an in­de­pen­dent for­eign pol­icy while pro­mot­ing ties with all na­tions, es­pe­cially the US with which we have had a long­stand­ing part­ner­ship,” he said. In­stead of meet­ing Mr Duterte, Mr Obama is now plan­ning to meet South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye, where North Korean mis­sile test­ing is ex­pected to be on the agenda. “I al­ways want to make sure that if I’m hav­ing a meet­ing that it’s ac­tu­ally pro­duc­tive and we’re get­ting some­thing done,” Mr Obama said. Mr Duterte won the pres­i­dency in May after he promis­ing to sup­press crime and wipe out drugs and drug deal­ers.

At least 2,400 peo­ple have been killed since he took of­fice on July 1, in­clud­ing 900 in po­lice op­er­a­tions against drug push­ers.

The rest are “deaths un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion”, a term hu­man rights ac­tivists in the Philip­pines say is a eu­phemism for vig­i­lante and ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings. The con­tro­ver­sial leader has used the “son of a whore” in­sult in pub­lic pre­vi­ously, us­ing the term to curse Pope Fran­cis and US am­bas­sador Phillip Gold­berg. Reuters

You must be re­spect­ful. Do not just throw away ques­tions and state­ments. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that fo­rum

Ro­drigo Duterte

Philip­pines Leader

Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

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