AMID suggestions from his allies that he be more circumspect, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he would not shut up.
To prove his point, he launched new tirades against his international critics, telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell,” and for the European Union to “choose purgatory” instead of criticizing his war on illegal drugs, which has already claimed 3,000 lives.
“They’re telling me to stop making noises. No, I cannot stop. I’ll lose the momentum,” Duterte said during the Sulong Pilipinas Local Governance dialogues at Makati City.
“I cannot afford it, I’m now the President of the Philippines. The momentum has to be there, it will be there for the next six years until the last pusher is taken out of the streets,” the President added.
In a separate speech, Duterte said he did not have fascistic tendencies as his critics have charged.
“This is not a fascist state where you can accuse any person, or tell him to take that off, or don’t use that. That is not the way of democracy. We are on the receiving end of criticism,” Duterte said.
Several of Duterte’s allies in Congress—including Senator Richard Gordon and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas--have told the President to stop saying that he will kill drug dealers and drug pushers and refrain from talking too much and focus instead on his work.
Duterte however, insisted that it’s not his problem, and said there was no law preventing him from threatening criminals.
“And you say that my mouth is not for a statesman. Who said that I applied to be a statesman?” he added.
Duterte, who has made several international headlines over the last few weeks over his near-daily rants against outspoken critics of his violent war on drugs, slammed the United States and the European Union for once again putting him in a bad light.
“Instead of helping us, the first one who attacked my war on drugs is the State Department. Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” he said.
“EU, you can choose purgatory,” he added.
Duterte said: “Hell is already full already, why should I be afraid of you?”
Duterte, who lamented being compared to Nazi leader Adolf leader, reiterated his apology to the Jewish community, who were offended by his speech.
Despite the many gaffes he committed, Duterte said he will never bow to American pressure, whom he blamed for his mishaps.
“It would be better if I will kneel down the King of Brunei or Thailand than to kneel before America. Never. You can do your worst but I will risk my job, my life and the Presidency,” he added.
On Tuesday, US officials said that they are doing their best to ignore Duterte’s anti-American tirates, comparing him however to Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump whose almost everyday attacks were best to ignore.
“He is like Mr. Trump,” a top US Defense Department said. “He craves attention, and the more he gets, the more outrageous he becomes. It is wisest to ignore him.”
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis meanwhile, said the military was aware of Duterte’s comments.
But “it hasn’t really so much translated into tangible actions that we’ve seen with regards to our actions under the alliance,” he said.
“In as much as our alliance with the Philippines is concerned, it’s very much solid and stable and secure and on track,” he added, pointing to continued cooperation in military exercises and assistance with counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines.
The Pentagon official also played down comments from Duterte who threatened to cancel a defense accord with the United States.
Duterte on Sunday said he might scrap the treaty, known as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, that went into force in January.
Duterte’s foul-mouthed outbursts since he was elected in May have frequently taken aim at the United States, including his calling US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”
Duterte has also repeatedly threatened to move away from the United States and forge closer ties with China and Russia.
Malacañang on Tuesday dismissed the suggestion of Senator Dick Gordon to change the Tourism slogan to “Welcome to the PI,” a swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte’s expletives.
“He knows how to handle these things and so I’d like to leave it to him. He’s a person after his own heart and he knows how to handle the situation. So far, he seems to have adjusted pretty well,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said of the President.
He declined to comment on EDCA, saying that was a policy statement that was beyond his pay grade.
The Pentagon on Monday downplayed comments from Duterte, after he threatened to cancel a defense accord with the United States.
That agreement, sealed under the administration of Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, allows US forces access to five Philippine bases to help counterbalance a growing Chinese presence in the South China Sea.
“This EDCA is an official document... but it does not bear the signature of the president of the republic,” Duterte said.
“Better think twice now because I will be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether,” he added.
European Union ambassador Franz Jessen said on Tuesday that they would rather focus on policy instead of reacting to President Duterte’s rhetoric.
Citing the investment interest and inputs of both countries, Jesses told the reporters that the EU is more concern of the policies being implemented by the Philippine government and not Duterte’s mouth.
In September, Duterte called EU a hypocrite and cursed them for the parliament’s recent call to the Philippine government to “put an end” to the killings of drug suspects.
“I have read the condemnation of the European Union. I’m telling them, ‘F**k you,’” Duterte said while holding up his middle finger during a speech to local businessmen in his hometown of Davao City on Tuesday.
Describing them as hypocrites, Duterte said the parliament “has the gall to condemn me” despite historical records showing what member countries, including France and Britain, have done in the Middle East. With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, AFP
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