Washington/Manila, Sep 6 (IANS) US President Barack Obama had better think twice about raising the issue of Philippine extra-judicial killings, warned the country’s confrontational leader on Monday.
“Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the President of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people,” Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte scoffed in a speech on Monday. “Son of a b****, I will swear at you.”
Duterte went on to blame the US for causing the unrest on the southern Philippines Island of Mindanao.
“As a matter of fact, we inherited this problem from the United States,” he said. “Why? Because they invaded this country and made us their subjugated people. Everybody has a terrible record of extra-judicial killing. Why make an issue about fighting crime?”
In response, the White House cancelled President Obama’s upcoming meeting with Duterte in Laos this week, where Obama is attending a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders, CNN quoted National Security Council spokesman as saying.
Earlier, hinting that his planned meeting with Duterte may not go forward, Obama said, “I always want to make sure if I’m having a meeting that it’s productive and we’re getting something done,”
“If and when we have a meeting, this is something that is going to be brought up,” Obama said, referring to the Philippines’ controversial record of combating drug crime since Duterte took office earlier in 2016.
“Look at the human rights of America along that line. The way they treat the migrants there,” CNN quoted Obama as saying.
Since Duterte was elected, more than 1,900 people have died, including at least 700 in police operations that were part of the President’s hard-line war on drugs.
“Double your efforts. Triple them, if need be. We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars — or below the ground, if they so wish,” Duterte said during his State of the Nation speech on July 25.
Human Rights Watch has called for the International Narcotics Control Board and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to condemn the “alarming surge in killings of suspected drug users or dealers” in the country.