MANILA– President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he has no plans of going to the United States, after an American lawmaker said he would protest in case US President Donald Trump welcomes the tough-talking Filipino leader to the White House.
“So what makes that guy think that I’m going to America?” Duterte told reporters in a chance interview in Davao City.
“There will never be a time during my admin[istration] that I’ll be going to America or thereafter. Ako, tapos na ako diyan. I’ve seen America and it’s lousy,” the President said.
Duterte said this in response to Massachusetts Rep. James McGovern, who told a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Thursday that he would protest against such a visit if Trump followed through on his invitation to the Filipino leader.
The President also shrugged off the US House panel’s investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, saying America was also guilty of committing numerous human rights violations at home and in the Middle East.
“It would be good for the US Congress to start with their own investigation of their own violations of the so many civilian killings or killed in the prosecution of the war in the Middle East,” he said.
“Explain to me why a hospital was bombed with all the technology and children and the patients being killed before you start to investigate me. Otherwise, I will be forced to investigate you also,” he added.
The President has several times lashed out at the US in response to Washington's criticism of his war on drugs.
Under Duterte, the Philippines has moved to loosen its ties with its long-standing defense ally, opting to forge closer relations with the latter’s rivals, China and Russia.
Still, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim is optimistic that the Philippines remains committed to the alliance.