Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had some strong words for U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Outraged that Washington refused to sell his government some weapons, he threatened to buy weapons from Russia and China and declared that Obama “can go to hell.”
Rodrigo Duterte against drug users
The Filipino president is trying to buy weapons to fuel his war against drug users in his country. He made his angry comments during a speech to officials on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Duterte has been president of the Philippines since June 30, and he immediately armed his government against drug users.
In just a few short months, about 3,000 people have been killed, according to authorities in the Philippines. Many of those who have been killed were suspected drug dealers who were shot to death and left in the street. In many such cases, the shooter is never revealed, although police claim to have killed more than 1,200 people who were selling drugs and drug users who were resisting arrest.
Concerns about Duterte’s campaign
The U.S., the United Nations and the European Union have been urging President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the killings which are happening without trials. They’ve also been trying to push the Philippines to respect human rights, and watchdog groups like Human Rights Watch have been speaking out against the deadly war on drugs.
Duterte uses foul language on a regular basis and has been lashing out against his critics regularly. Last month, he called President Obama a term that translates as “son of a b*tch” in Tagalog, but he later apologized after Obama canceled a one-on-one appointment with him. Last week in response to critics who compared him to Adolf Hitler, the Filipino president embraced the comparison, saying he would be “happy to slaughter” millions of Filipinos who use drugs just like Hitler murdered millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
However, he has since apologized to the world’s Jewish population on multiple occasions. A Jewish audience at a synagogue in Manila reportedly applauded the apology he made on Tuesday. He called his comments “just a mental slip” and “just a play of the tongue.”
The Philippines may “break up” with the U.S.
On Tuesday after Washington said it would not sell weapons to his government, Duterte responded, “Instead of helping us, the first to hit was the State Department. So you can go to hell, Mr. Obama. You can go to hell.”
According to the AP, it’s not clear exactly what prompted him to say that. He also warned that if the U.S. didn’t want to sell him weapons, he would go to Russia. In fact, he said that he had already sent his generals there and that Russia had told them, “Do not worry. We have everything you need. We’ll give it to you.” He added that China was on board as well, telling him to “come over and sign, and everything will be delivered.”
Duterte said he may one day “break up with America” and described the U.S. as being unreliable as an ally. He said his country’s armed forces haven’t benefited from the joint combat exercises they have carried out with American troops and that the exercises scheduled for this week would be the last to take place during his time in office.
The media outlet adds that a White House spokesman said today that neither Duterte or any official from the Philippines has made any official request to change any aspect of the U.S. cooperation with the Philippines. He described the alliance with the country as “robust” and one that “benefits both of our countries.” However, he also said they wouldn’t hesitate to speak out against the extra-judicial killings the Philippine government has been carrying out.
He also turned his tirade on the European Union. He said the EU “better choose purgatory, hell is filled up,” reports ABC News.