The ongoing expletives of Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has once again unloaded a bulky shipment of fresh, warm expletives aimed at high profile figures. Last week, members of the European Union called for more scrupulous monitoring of the human rights abuses, which were reportedly taking place within the country. On Tuesday, in a speech which took place in his hometown of Davao City, Duterte responded to the accusations in a mix of Filipino and English by saying, “I have read the condemnation of the European Union. I’m telling them: ‘F**k you.’”
He went on, chastising the EU nations for what he perceived as a glaring example of exceptionalism and hypocrisy. “Who did I kill? Assuming that it’s true? 1,700? How many have they killed?” he said, calling to issue what other countries, namely France and Britain, have done in the Middle East. “You are doing it in atonement for your sins. They are now strict because they have guilty feelings,” he said. Duterte emphasized his disdain by clarifying, “I repeat it. F**k you!” while raising his right hand and giving the middle finger to applause from local businessmen.
The Philippines, a nation comprised of more than 7,000 islands in Southeast Asia, has been plagued in recent years by an immense drug epidemic. Duterte took office on June 30, and since then approximately 3,500 people have been killed by heavy-handed police tactics and vigilantism, sprouting from the chaotic war on drugs.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama cancelled what would have been the first meeting of the two leaders just hours after Duterte berated him in similar fashion. In response to warnings that he would face criticism by Duterte reportedly said before a news conference, “You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.” This statement was allegedly directed at President Obama, in regards to the island nation’s ongoing war on drugs,
Obama later described Duterte as a “colorful guy.” In response to his choice to cancel the meeting, the President went on to say, “I always want to make sure, if I’m having a meeting, that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”
Duterte has since apologized and admitted regret for the vulgarity. Several sources, including Duterte himself, have made attempts to explain that the insult was directed at the reporter who had initially asked how he would respond to criticism from the US president during their first face-to-face interaction, set to take place during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Perhaps something was lost in translation. However, while he was still Mayor of Davao City, the famously foul-mouthed Duterte employed “son of a whore” to describe the Pope, venting frustration at the traffic in Manila caused by the Pontiff’s motorcade during a recent visit to the capital. Then, as now, Duterte expressed regret for his use of language and planned a trip to the Vatican to personally apologize. He later backpedaled on this plan after winning his country’s election.