Philippines president expresses ‘regret’ for calling Obama, ‘son of a whore’

The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed regret after he appeared to refer to Barack Obama as a “son of a whore”, denying it was aimed as a “personal attack”.

In a statement read by his spokesman, Mr Duterte said his “strong comments… elicited concern and distress”, adding: “We also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US President.”

Mr Duterte had made the remarks before flying to Laos to attend a regional summit, where he had been scheduled to meet with Obama separately – a meeting that has since been cancelled.

He had said Mr Obama should be “respectful” and refrain from throwing questions at him about his vicious war on drugs, which has seen around 2,400 people killed with impunity, warning: “…son of a bitch, I will swear at you in that forum.”

Speaking at a news conference following Mr Duterte’s comments, Mr Obama described his Filipino counterpart as a “colourful guy” and said he had asked his staff to assess whether a meeting between the two leaders would be “productive” in light of Mr Duterte’s comments.

Later, the White House announced that Mr Obama would instead meet with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea

Mr Duterte has won approval for his foul-mouthed press conferences from a Filipino public that is tired of well-spoken politicians, with his domestic popularity ratings currently at around 90 per cent.

He has promised medals to any member of the public who shoots a drug dealer, and threatened to take the country out of the United Nations after facing criticism from the organisation over the human rights implications of his anti-crime campaign.

More than 2,000 alleged drug dealers and addicts are thought to have been killed in the Philippines since Mr Duterte took office, pledging to rid the country of its rampant drugs trade. At least 700 of those deaths reportedly occurred during police operations.

 

via INDEPENDENT

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