Duterte comments worry Filipino-Americans, says ex-envoy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2016 11:16 AM | Updated as of Sep 14 2016 12:44 PM

MANILA - Filipino Americans have begun to worry over the fallout from President Rodrigo Duterte's sharp criticism of the United States, Manila's former envoy to Washington said Wednesday.

In the last two weeks, Duterte threatened to curse at US President Barack Obama and took America to task over its crimes when it occupied the Philippines, as he rejected international criticism of his bloody war on drugs.

The US is home to 3.5 million Filipinos, the largest expatriate population, followed by Saudi Arabia and Canada, according to the Commission on Filipinos overseas.

"I’m getting emails asking me: What is the purpose of the President doing that? Why is he doing that? Does he have anti-American feelings?’ This is coming from Filipino-Americans. They are of course at a loss, too," Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr., told ANC's "Headstart."

American investors in the Philippines shared the same sentiment, the former ambassador said, citing a statement from the American Chamber of Commerce in Manila.

"Some of their investors are raising questions, some of their members are raising questions because they are investors in this country: Is this government turning anti-American?," he said.

Duterte on Tuesday brought up the massacre of Filipinos by American troops in Balangiga town, Samar province in 1901 and said he was not in favor of joint sea patrols between Filipino and US troops.

"It’s as if he’s trying to say, Well, the US has no right to tell me about human right violations; they committed human rights violations over a hundred years ago.’ I don’t know what his purpose was," Cuisia said.

WATCH: Cuisia: Duterte should be more circumspect on PH allies

Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian leaders' summit in Laos last week after the Filipino leader said his US counterpart had no right to criticize his counter-narcotics drive.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Tuesday Duterte's comments did not indicate a policy shift and Manila was still committed to its military agreements with Washington.