MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday took another jab at United States President Barack Obama, this time telling the leader of the Western superpower to “go to hell.”
Duterte again lambasted the US and the European Union for criticizing his war on drugs, and said that he is no longer impressed with the world’s most powerful country.
“Instead of helping us, ang unang tumira itong State Department. So you can go to hell. Mister Obama, you can go to hell. EU (European Union), better choose purgatory,” Duterte said in a speech delivered in Makati.
[Instead of helping us, it was the State Department who hit me. So you can go to hell. Mister Obama, you can go to hell. EU, better choose purgatory.]
Duterte earlier made headlines after he issued expletives prior to his scheduled meeting with Obama at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Laos last month. This prompted the White House to cancel the two leaders' meeting.
Duterte apologized for his remarks but has not dialed down on his rhetoric against the US.
In his speech today, Duterte said the Philippines gains little from the US, and the two countries' annual joint military exercises do not significantly benefit Filipino soldiers.
"Iyang war games war games, sila lang ang natututo using our soldiers, because ang equipment nila at sa atin hindi [compatible]. Ipahiram lang nila during war games, pagkatapos kunin nila," Duterte said.
[Only American soldiers learn something during war games, because their equipment are not compatible with ours. They will just lend it and then get it after.]
Duterte does not like foreign governments and international bodies criticizing his campaign against drugs, saying it is his “sacred duty to keep the integrity of this republic.”
The foul-mouthed leader’s latest tirade against Obama comes as troops from the US and Philippines started its annual war games today.
Duterte has warned the war games will be the last of his six-year term, and threatened to scrap a defense pact implemented by his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, that was meant to see more US troops in the Philippines to counter Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.
Still Duterte's comments have not filtered down into government policy, and it remains unclear to what extent he is prepared to damage ties with the United States.
"The (US military) relationship has not changed as of today," Philippine defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong told AFP on Monday.
The US Embassy in Manila urged the Philippines on Tuesday to live up to previous agreements.
"We will continue to honor our alliance commitments, and we expect the Philippines to do the same," embassy spokeswoman Molly Koscina told AFP.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the military was aware of Duterte's comments.
But "it hasn't really so much translated into tangible actions that we've seen with regards to our actions under the alliance," he said. – with Agence France-Presse