Vientiane, Sep 6 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday expressed regret over his obscene remarks for US President Barack Obama in which he called the latter “son of a whore”.
Duterte in a statement said his comments “came across as a personal attack on the US President”, Xinhua news agency reported.
He made the remarks on Monday before flying to Laos, where he was to meet Obama on the sideline of the Asean and East Asia Summits, EFE news reported.
However, the White House cancelled the bilateral meeting after Duterte tore into Obama with an obscenity.
The Philippines leader in Tuesday’s statement said he feels deep regard and an affinity with Obama, and emphasised that he looked forward at irioning out differences with the US.
He said that his government’s primary intention is to chalk out an “independent foreign policy” while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the US, a long-standing ally.
The Philippine leader’s statement came after he hit out at Obama and other countries for criticising his controversial war on drugs, terming it an internal matter.
Duterte was criticised on several occasions for his anti-drug campaign in which 929 persons died in police operations and 1,507 others in extra-judicial killings between July 1 and August 31.
“You must be respectful, do not just throw questions. Putang ina (‘son of a bitch’ in Tagalog) I will swear at you in that forum,” Duterte said on Monday while referring to Obama.
He also said Philippines was no longer a US colony and he was answerable only to the Philippine people.
The cancellation of what was going to be the first Obama-Duterte meeting has dealt a significant blow to diplomatic relations between the two countries.