MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has apologized to former United States President Barack Obama, whom he had called “son of a w*****.”
“I am sorry for uttering those words,” Duterte said in a speech before the Filipino community in Jerusalem, Israel on Sunday evening (Israel time).
But the President said he has also “forgiven” Obama for making comments about his controversial war on drugs.
He also described Obama as a “cold person” while praising US President Donald Trump, calling the latter “a good friend of mine” who “speaks my language.”
At the height of the controversial remark in September 2016, Obama said he did not take the tough-talking President’s statements personally.
But Duterte’s remarks prompted Obama to cancel his scheduled meeting with the Philippine president at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Laos.
In the wake of the controversy, Duterte’s then spokesman, Ernesto Abella, issued a statement on behalf of the President expressing “regret” over the remarks.
But the apology’s sincerity was betrayed by Duterte’s subsequent tirades against Obama.
A month after saying Obama was a “son of a b****,” he told the American leader to “go to hell.”
Duterte has openly expressed his disdain for the US, seeking to forge closer ties with its rivals, China and Russia.
Trump’s election as US president helped tone down Duterte’s tirades against Washington, as the American leader is seen to be more tolerant of the Filipino leader’s human rights records.
- with Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News