PHL PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and US President Barack Obama.
MANILA (via PhilAmPress) – Maverick Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, ignoring the calls of his allies to now shut up and control his “colourful” language, has resumed his tirades at US President Barack Obama and the European Union amid their criticisms on the government’s war on drugs.
The President said the war on drugs will not stop despite the alleged “hypocrisy” of the US and other international bodies and human rights groups.
“I will not stop despite the hypocrisy of EU, and America and Obama. They seem to refuse to understand,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United States stressed that its relationship with the Philippines, notwithstanding occasional unfavorable remarks made by President Duterte, remains very strong and very vital.
“Our people-to-people ties remain strong, our security and military ties remain strong. Our economic ties remain strong. And so, while there is this – there is these remarks occasionally being made, at the working level our relationship remains very strong and very vital,” US Department of State deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a press briefing in Washington DC.
Toner, however, admitted that Mr. Duterte’s remarks were “troubling.”
While Toner assured the strong US relationship with the Philippines, influential US lawmakers are warning that the perceived extrajudicial killings in Manila’s drug war could affect American aid.
And while the Obama administration maintains that its 65-year-old alliance with the Philippines remains “ironclad,” a senior US diplomat is cautioning Duterte against more anti-US posturing.
“I think it would be a serious mistake in a democratic country like the Philippines to underestimate the power of the public’s affinity for the US. That’s people power,” Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said.
Earlier in Hawaii, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the US ties with the Philippines is “iron clad” but in a meeting with Southeast Asian defense ministers, including Secretary Lorenzana of the Philippines, Carter hinted at US impatience with the Philippine government over Duterte’s remarks. “Just speaking personally for myself, I find these comments deeply troubling,” Carter said. A day earlier, he had described the US relationship with the Philippines as “ironclad.”
Earlier, reports indicated that a plot to oust Mr. Duterte has been hatched in the United States by some Filipino Americans, with the support of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but the reports were described as mere rumors.
During his speech at the “Sulong Pilipinas Local Governance Series” in Makati City, the President said that President Obama can go to hell, while the EU can stay at the purgatory.
In another speech later at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue also in Makati City as he apologized to Jews for his earlier remarks alluding to Hitler and the slaughter of millions of Jews, Duterte threatened to break away from America.
In making the apology, Duterte admitted his former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, descended from an American Jew.
The President’s tirade came amid his explanation on why he is ending the joint military exercises between the US and the Philippines as forces of both countries opened their latest war games called the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercises (PHIBLEX) which Duterte described as the last of such exercises.
The development came as Duterte’s economic team composed of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno flew to the United States to pitch for the Philippines before the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and the American and Filipino leaders. (See related story).
Secretaries Pernia and Diokno will share news on susstained macro-economic sustainability, institution building, and positive growth prospects. They will also discuss President Duterte’s socio-economic agenda, and will complement the recent Talakayan with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.
Duterte blasted the US anew after reaffirming his earlier pronouncement that he will make a close ally out of China and Russia which he first revealed while attending the ASEAN summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“Instead of helping us, the first to criticize is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” Duterte said. Then addressing the EU, he said: “Better choose purgatory, hell is filled up.”
“So you can go to hell. Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” Duterte said at the Sulong Pilipinas 2016 convention.
After his working visit to Vietnam, Duterte threatened to pull the plugs on the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the US.
Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Maj. Gen. Andre Costales Jr. said at the opening of the war gfames the Philippine Marine and the US Marine have been strong allies in the Asia Pacific region for more than three decades.
“With commitment from our Marine forces, we have continuously kept our goal to sustain good relationship and cooperation thereby upgrading each other’s capabilities and competencies,” Costales said.
Costales added that this year’s amphibious landing exercise will focus on integration and inter-operability.
“For 2016, our mission is to integrate the use of strategic sea vessels and other non-traditional platforms,” the general said.
The recent acquisition of the Philippine Navy’s new strategic sealift vessel, the BRP Tarlac, as well as the future acquisition of its sister ship, the BRP Davao Del Sur, will strengthen the capability of the government to respond to any incident from the sea.
The US Marine vowed to be partners with the Philippine Marine to “grow the most versatile capability possible.”
“Beyond all these visions and aspirations, what must prevail is brotherhood of marines regardless of color of our uniform and our skin,” Costales said.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that there is no official order yet to end the war games between the Philippines and the US.
“One of the course of action that we are going to do in the next couple of weeks is to sit down with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)… and to let them tell us what’s happening in these exercises,” Lorenzana said.
US officials have slammed Duterte, especially after he took note of Hitler killing millions of Jews but later apologized for the remarks.
Duterte said he was willing to cut ties with the US in favor of Russia and China.
“Respect is important,” he said in one of three speeches Tuesday. “If this is what happens now, I will be reconfiguring my foreign policy. Eventually I might, in my time, I will break up with America. I’d rather go to Russia and to China.”
According to the President, the US will never be able to make him bend.
The President blamed the media for associating him with the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
Duterte said that there is no law in the Constitution that prohibits him from giving warning to criminals.
The President insisted that he has no plans of putting a stop to his on-going war against illegal drugs, regardless if he exhaust all of his six years in office.
“For the life of me, I’d rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand but I will never before the Americans,” said Mr. Duterte.
The President said that US President Barack Obama, the US State Department and foreign-funded nongovernment organizations merely rode on the “garbage” that his political rivals threw against him, the alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City , when he ran for mayor and for president.
“When you’re at the receiving end of an uncontrollable wrath, the only way out is through insult. That was my retaliation to them. Sabi ko putang ina ninyo (I said, ‘Your mother is a whore!’),” said the President.
Duterte said he will never insult Jews because his former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, has Jewish lineage.
“I really came here to say I’m sorry because I really respect the Jewish people. For the life of me, you have never heard me say a single word. As a matter of fact, my wife is a Zimmerman. She is a descendant of an American Jew. Zimmerman,” he said.
The President doubted whether the Americans would sacrifice their lives for the Philippines.
He cited the war games, which he believed benefited only the Americans because the weapons being used were incompatible and, therefore, useless for the the country’s military. “I really lost my faith in the Americans,” said the President.
“You can go to hell, State Department, you can go to hell Obama. You can go to hell EU (European Union), you can choose purgatory because hell is full. Why will I be afraid of you?” said Mr. Duterte.
Duterte said he would soon cut ties with the United States during his term amid continued criticisms against his war on drugs.