Many more will be killed before the end of the campaign against illegal drugs, President Duterte said yesterday of his war on drugs that has claimed about 2,400 lives since he took office two months ago. AP/Bullit Marquez, file photo
Rodrigo Duterte warned President Obama not to ask him about extrajudicial killings related to his crackdown on drug dealers, and using a curse in Tagalog that can be translated as “son of a bitch,” he added, “I will swear at you in that forum.”
By CHRISTINE HAUSER
The New York Times
President Barack Obama canceled a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines scheduled for Tuesday in Laos, after the Philippine president directed an expletive at Obama on Monday.
Duterte warned Obama not to ask him about extrajudicial killings related to his crackdown on drug dealers, a campaign pledge that helped sweep him to victory in the country’s presidential election in May.
“I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody,” he said in remarks published by The Associated Press. Apparently addressing Obama, he added: “You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions.” Then, using a curse in Tagalog that can be translated as “son of a bitch,” he added, “I will swear at you in that forum.”
Obama, who was in China for a Group of 20 meeting, departed Monday for Laos, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the nation. In addition to taking part in the Asian regional summit meeting, he is scheduled to speak at a forum with young people.
Obama had planned to meet Duterte in Laos, but Ned Price, the National Security Council spokesman, said early Tuesday that the meeting had been canceled.
“Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said Monday. “I always want to make sure if I’m having a meeting that it’s productive.”
Duterte, a former mayor of Davao, was apparently referring to the numbers highlighting his crackdown on drug dealers.
Last month, the Philippines’ top police official, Chief Ronald dela Rosa, told a Senate hearing that killings by the police and vigilantes in the country’s war on drugs had soared to nearly 1,800 in the seven weeks since Duterte was sworn into office.
Duterte’s public image has been characterized by bouts of coarse language. He has lashed out at his critics, threatening to withdraw from the United Nations after human rights experts called for a halt to the killings.
He joked about the rape of an Australian missionary during the presidential campaign. He cursed Pope Francis and his entourage for causing huge traffic jams in Manila during the pope’s visit to the Philippines in 2015.