DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Sept. 21 (UPI) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assailed European Union critics of his war on illegal drugs, using profanity to describe crimes committed in the past by Europeans.
Presenting an obscenity-laced address in his hometown of Davao City on Tuesday, Duterte, who commonly uses vulgarities for emphasis in his passionate oratory, was critical of a directive last week from the European Parliament to the EU’s delegation in Manila. It called for a close monitoring of human rights abuses after 15 people died in a Davao City explosion on Sept. 2 and in the wake of Duterte’s get-tough policy on illegal drug trafficking in the Philippines.
Duterte, angered by complaints of foreign governments regarding the extrajudicial killing of more than 3,000 people and the surrender of 700,000 more in his anti-drug campaign, referred to alleged crimes committed historically by Europeans.
“I’ve read the European Union’s condemnation against me. I tell them, [expletive] you. You’re doing it in atonement for your sins.” He spoke in a mixture of languages and switched to English for the expletive, raising his middle finger for emphasis.
“[Philippine drug policies] are strict now because there’s guilt,” Duterte said. “Who did I kill, assuming that it’s true? 1,700. Who are they? Criminals. You call that genocide? How many have they killed?” Duterte added, before flashing a middle finger.
He singled out France and Britain for joining the United States in Middle Eastern wars, adding history books were replete with examples of slaughters committed by Europeans.
Duterte was elected as president in June after campaigning largely on a promise to rid the Philippines of drug trafficking. He has told police to defend themselves if they feel their lives are threatened during investigations or arrests, and 16,000 people have been arrested thus far.
Earlier Tuesday Duterte acknowledged the necessity of the presence of U.S. troops in the South China Sea, despite calling for the ouster of U.S. military forces from the Philippine island of Mindinao and the end of joint patrols of the sea with U.S. troops last week. In a speech to Philippine soldiers near Davao City, Duterte said he sought the ouster of U.S. troops only to ensure success of peace talks with Muslim rebels.
“I said there will be some time in the future when I’ll ask the special forces to leave,” Duterte said. “I never said, ‘Go out of the Philippines,’ for after all, we need them in China Sea.”