MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could be listening to his phone conversations, as he revived his allegations that the agency was out to kill him.
“I know, nakikinig sa akin is US. Sigurado iyan, ang CIA. Iyan ang papatay sa akin,” Duterte said in a speech in Cebu.
(I know, the US is listening. I’m sure it’s the CIA. It’s also the one who will kill me.)
The President said, aside from the US, other countries which may also be eavesdropping on his conversations are “Russia, China, Israel, and maybe Indonesia.”
Duterte said his security aides have warned him against using the more modern smartphone, as this is more prone to interception. He said security personnel instead suggested that he use a basic cellphone.
The President, now 73, admitted that he is not a tech-savvy person. He revealed an incident where he accidentally hit the “send all” feature while using the messaging app Viber.
The chief executive from time to time issues tirades against the US. His gripes include the criticism of former US President Barack Obama on his war on drugs and the suspension of a US arms sale to the Philippines, a deal which Duterte eventually cancelled.
In his speech, Duterte again lamented the comments of US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver against Manila’s plan to get military hardware from Russia, one of Washington’s rivals.
According to Schriver, when a country buys weapon systems, “you’re not just buying capability, you’re investing in a relationship.” The US has been the primary source of military equipment for the Philippines, being a long-standing ally.
But the President said Philippines-US relations have never really been one of respect. He noted how the US sells or donates refurbished military equipment to the Philippines, while China and Russia offer brand-new ones and without conditions.
“Relations? When was it really a relation of mutuality and respect?” Duterte said.
He also blasted another Western country, Canada, for holding off Manila’s purchase of $233 million worth of choppers due to human rights concerns. Duterte terminated the deal out of exasperation.
Duterte hit Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the bungled deal, saying the latter did not understand the situation that the Philippines was dealing with.
He explained that the Philippines needed the choppers to use in military operations because there were rebels “out to overthrow my government.”
“If you cannot understand, you should not be there in your mighty post,” he said.