'Nobody but nobody should interfere in PH affairs'
MANILA (UPDATE) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday again criticized the United States before flying to Laos for the ASEAN Summit where he will meet US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.
Asked how he would respond to US President Barack Obama's expected query on his war on drugs and its impact on human rights, Duterte said he has nothing to explain as the Philippines is not beholden to the US.
''The Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the US,'' said Duterte before taking his flight to Vientiane for the regional summit.
''I don’t respond to anybody but to the people of the republic. Wala akong pakialam. (I don’t' care). Who is he?" he said.
Duterte went on to narrate how the Philippines, particularly its Moro population, suffered from American colonizers.
''That is the reason why Mindanao continues to boil,'' he said.
In an interview with reporters last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama is certainly "not going to pull any punches" on human rights during his meeting with Duterte.
"I think the President is going to speak quite directly about our shared interests with the Philippines,'' Earnest said.
"Both countries benefit from effective cooperation on a variety of issues, including maritime security. But the President is certainly not going to pull any punches in raising well-documented and relevant concerns when it comes to human rights."
The Philippines is the the oldest ally of the US in Asia, but Duterte has not been shy to express his misgivings about the superpower.
Duterte has repeatedly said the Philippines will determine its own destiny without depending on the US.
''I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I don’t have any master except the Filipino. Nobody,'' he said.
Duterte, who will be meeting with a number of leaders during the ASEAN Summit, said he will not allow anyone to lecture him about human rights, warning that any foreign leader who will do this will earn his ire.
''I only am answerable to the Filipino people who elected me as president. Period. Nobody but nobody should interfere. This is an independent country. Nobody has the right to lecture on me. God! Do not do it,'' he said.