Stay off Philippine’s course, Duterte warns Obama

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called on United States President Barack Obama not to raise human rights concerns with him as both leaders prepared to meet late yesterday at the ongoing Asean Conference.

Duterte made this call yesterday when asked by a reporter how he intended to respond should Obama ask about his war on the drug trade.

Hundreds of people have died in anti-drug operations since Duterte won election despite international alarm.

Duterte, who took office in June, has sanctioned the killing of drug dealers to try to wipe out the illegal drugs trade in the Philippines.

The UN has repeatedly condemned his policies as a violation of human rights.  The Roman Catholic church, the dominant religion in the Philippines, has also criticised Duterte.

But Duterte said he is not concerned about the opinions of those observing his actions, adding that he would not take orders from the US, a former colonial ruler of the Philippines.

“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told a news conference, referring to Obama.

“We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me,” Duterte added, stressing,
“More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets. Until the last drug manufacturer is killed, we will continue and I will continue.”

Some 2, 400 people have been killed in his war on drugs since he took office and he said there were more deaths to come.

In August, two UN human rights experts said Duterte’s directive for police and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers amounted to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law.

Asked whether he would still meet Duterte and raise the issue of extrajudicial killings, Obama said he would assess whether a meeting would still be constructive.