MANILA, Oct. 2 (UPI) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte specifically apologized to Jews on Sunday for his earlier comments in which he compared his war on drugs with the way Adolf Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews during World War II.
“I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish,” Duterte said during the opening of the MassKara festival in Bacolod, carried live on television.
“I would like to make it [clear] here and now that there was never intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans.”
The president noted his comments had nothing to do with the Holocaust, but it left a “bad taste in the mouth.”
He originally had brought up the comment because he lamented that some critics called him the “cousin of Hitler.”
“It was never my intention [to mention Hitler] but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me,” he said Sunday.
The Israeli government denounced Duterte’s statement as “unfortunate.” Also, worldwide
Jewish groups, the United Nations, Germany said it demonstrated lack of respect for human life.
“The Jewish community all over the world reacted,” the president said.
“It’s not really that I said something wrong but rather they don’t really want you to tinker with the memory,” he added.
Duterte said he was not apologizing to his “stupid” critics from the West and human rights advocates.
“With regard to the stupid lawyers in EU (European Union) and (United Nations Commission on) Human Rights, screw you. Sipain ko pa kayo (I’ll even kick you).
“They said I love to curse. What would be my defense when you pretend to be a friend of the Philippine? America, and the Human Rights (Council) of the United Nations, when they hit you, you cannot do anything. They hog the international press. Your response will not reach them,” he added.
On Friday, Duterte said he is willing to kill three million drug addicts rid the nation of drugs.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said during the start of a two-day official visit to Vietnam.
“At least if Germany had Hitler the Philippines would have… you know, my victims, I would like to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he added.
Duterte won’t back down on his war on drugs.
“If you destroy my country, if you destroy my children, I will really kill you. That’s for sure,” the tough-talking president said.
He said some deaths have been inappropriately tied to drugs, including some hit by vehicles.
“If someone dies without suspects, it’s extrajudicial killings. In Manila, it (the number of deaths) has reached 3,000. I was the one being blamed,” the president.