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Philippines president calls Barack Obama a 'son of a bitch'

Published 05/09/2016

President Rodrigo Duterte insists he is answerable only to the Filipino people (AP)
President Rodrigo Duterte insists he is answerable only to the Filipino people (AP)

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has labelled US counterpart Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” and warned him not to question his policy of extrajudicial killings.

Since gaining power in June, Mr Duterte has engaged in a vicious war on drugs, which has seen around 2,400 people killed with impunity by hit squads, drawing international criticism. 

But before heading to Laos for the ASEAN Summit  on Monday, Mr Duterte said he was a leader of a sovereign country and answerable only to the Filipino people.

He said Mr Obama should be respectful and refrain from throwing questions at him about the killings, "[or] son of a bitch, I will swear at you in that forum."

Mr Duterte was answering a reporter's question about how he intends to explain recent events in the Philippines to Mr Obama.

He continued: "Who is he to confront me? As a matter of fact, America has one too many to answer for.

"Everybody has a terrible record of extrajudicial killings."

The strongman president made his name as a tough law enforcer and has advocated the killing of drug users and suppliers, offering his protection to police officers who do his bidding.

Around 900 of the dead were killed in police operations, while the remainder are “deaths under investigation” – a term human rights campaigners say is a euphemism for vigilante murders.

At the same conference, Mr Duterte told journalists: "Plenty [of drug dealers] will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets. Until the [last] drug manufacturer is killed we will continue.”

Mr Obama is not the only world leader to have felt the sharp end of Mr Duterte’s tongue, with Mr Duterte having used the same insult towards the United Nations following criticism of his policies.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” Mr Duterte said in late August. “If you are that disrespectful, son of a bitch, then I will just leave you.”

He later retracted the comment, saying it was a joke, but also refused a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Laos, saying his schedule did not allow for it.

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