MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was elated after reading reports saying U.S. President Donald Trump wants to copy his style in fighting illegal drugs.
Quoting a news headline he recently read, Duterte said in a speech in Davao City: “‘Trump: We would like to follow Duterte because they have no problem in the Philippines, he just killed them.’”
“Tama ka talaga Trump. P***** i**. Bilib ako sa’yo. Sinabi ko na ang totoo,” he added.
American online news site Axios earlier quoted a senior U.S. administration official as saying that Trump has been expressing admiration for the Philippines’ handling of its illegal drug problem.
"He often jokes about killing drug dealers... He’ll say, 'You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them,’” Axios quoted the official as saying.
The report also quoted five sources who have spoken with Trump about the matter as saying that the U.S. president “often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty.”
According to the report, Trump said showing sympathy to drug offenders will never work and that a law should be passed that will allow the execution of drug dealers in the U.S.
The U.S. has often been the subject of Duterte’s tirades, partly because of Washington’s criticisms to his war on drugs during the Obama administration.
However, Washington and Manila’s ties improved after Trump came to power.
The equally controversial American leader has been seen as less critical of Duterte’s drug war, which has claimed about 4,000 lives in police operations.