MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he would not apologize to ambassadors from the European Union (EU) member-states even if he mistakenly vented his ire against them.
Duterte on Thursday dared EU envoys to leave the Philippines in 24 hours, in an apparent reaction to comments made by a 7-member delegation of international parliamentarians, which included Europeans, against his war on drugs during a recent visit to Manila.
The EU office in Manila, however, swiftly issued a clarification denying involvement in the visit by members of the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists.
In a speech in Dumaguete City, Duterte did not apologize for his tirades, instead blaming the envoys for not telling him about the arrival of the international delegation.
“Kagabi, nakikinig ang mga ambassadors, nag-text agad, [ang sabi] they [visiting international delegation] are not part of EU,” Duterte said in his speech during the opening of the Buglosan Festival.
“Bakit hindi ka agad nagsabi? You kept your silence while they were yakking here. Sabi ko, tama ang ginawa ko.”
Malacañang has already clarified that the President’s tirades were aimed at the international delegation and not at EU.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also said no directive has been given for the EU envoys to leave the Philippines.
Duterte has repeatedly blasted the EU in his speeches, saying its members do not understand the magnitude of Manila's drug problem. He also accused the bloc of undue interference in the Philippines’ internal affairs.
Some EU lawmakers who visited the Philippines in July had criticized Duterte's anti-narcotics war, citing the more than 3,000 deaths in anti-drug operations since mid-2016 and alleged human rights violations in the country.
Amid what it believes is the EU’s interference in Manila’s affairs, the administration in May declined 250 million Euros (P13.89 billion) in fresh grants from the EU.
In a speech on Thursday, Duterte also slammed the United Nations, daring the world body to expel the Philippines.
The President’s outburst was triggered, however, by the comments from the Human Rights Watch which warned that the Philippines could be stripped of its membership in the UN Human Rights Council if the killings in the war on drugs continue.
“Tinakot pa ako na tanggalin tayo sa UN. Kaligaya ko na lang,” Duterte said in his speech today.
The UN itself has not threatened to remove the country from the 47-nation rights council or the 193-member world body itself.