MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would not accept “insults” from the European Union, as he reiterated his decision to reject an invitation to visit the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Duterte said he would not go to Europe just to receive flak from his critics there who have blasted his style of governance and his war on drugs.
“Why am I supposed to be there? To ask me questions? Insultuhin niyo ako? Eh p**a-hin ko kayong lahat doon. Hindi ako presidente na puwede mo lang… sabi ko bahala ka d'yan” Duterte said in a speech during the 45th anniversary celebration of the National Economic Development Authority.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen earlier said the EU had sent an invitation for Duterte to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting from Oct. 18 to 19 this year.
Jessen had said he hopes Duterte's visit to Europe will give the chief executive a "more positive understanding of the European Union."
In his speech, Duterte also said US President Donald Trump has a standing invitation for him to visit the US. Trump had earlier complimented his anti-drug approach.
While he did not say whether he would accept the invitation, he blasted two US lawmakers for being “too presumptuous” by saying they would lead protests if he sets foot in Washington.
“Sabi ng dalawang senador doon, ‘If that Duterte comes here, we will lead a protest.’ You know guys, you are too presumptuous. Whoever told you that magpunta ako diyan sa lugar ninyo? Anong makuha ko diyan? Anong makita ko?”
Duterte, in his previous speeches, had repeatedly blasted the EU for criticizing his anti-narcotics war and at one point dared its envoys to leave the Philippines.
The Philippines last year also announced that it would no longer accept new grants from the EU because of its criticism of the crackdown on illegal drugs.
The President had earlier explained that EU members, who have expressed concern over deaths in his drug war, do not understand the magnitude of the country's narcotics problem. Duterte had also blasted the bloc for its supposed undue interference in the Philippines’ internal affairs.
Ties between the Philippines and the US, meanwhile, have improved since Trump took office. The Republican leader is seen to go soft on Duterte when it comes to human rights issues.