PHILIP­PINES

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Duterte: God told me to stop swear­ing

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte says he has promised God he will clean up his fa­mously vul­gar lan­guage.

Ar­riv­ing in his home city of Davao af­ter a trip to Ja­pan, Mr Duterte said God gave him an ul­ti­ma­tum on the plane.

“I heard a voice telling me to stop swear­ing or the plane will crash in mid-air, and so I promised to stop,” he told re­porters at the air­port.

Mr Duterte’s blunt speak­ing, of­ten di­rected at the West, has con­trib­uted to his pop­u­lar­ity at home.

He called Pres­i­dent Barack Obama a “son of a whore”, called the Euro­pean Union “hyp­o­crit­i­cal”, threat­ened to leave the UN and ac­cepted com­par­isons to Hitler, say­ing he would gladly kill three mil­lion drug ad­dicts.

All were re­sponses to crit­i­cisms of his bloody war on drugs, that has seen thou­sands of al­leged drug deal­ers and users killed by po­lice and vig­i­lante groups.

Mr Duterte said he had promised God he would not “ex­press slang, cuss words and ev­ery­thing”, and said a “prom­ise to God is a prom­ise to the Filipino peo­ple”.

But he sug­gested his prom­ise might have its lim­its. Whether he will stick to not swear­ing when talk­ing about the US, EU or arch po­lit­i­cal foe Se­na­tor Leila de Lima, will de­pend on tim­ing, lo­cal me­dia quoted him as say­ing.

Like most Filipinos, Mr Duterte is Ro­man Catholic, al­though he has boasted about his wom­an­is­ing and called the Pope a “son of a whore” for caus­ing traf­fic jams dur­ing his visit.

The pres­i­dent has spo­ken about be­ing abused by an Amer­i­can priest as a child, say­ing that in­formed his po­lit­i­cal views.

He re­cently said that the Philip­pines wanted “a sep­a­ra­tion” from long­stand­ing ally the US, and wanted Amer­i­can troops to leave the coun­try, pos­si­bly within two years.

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