Reacting to criticisms over his methods for handling the country’s out of control drug problems, Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte was less than discreet with comments aimed at the United States president and the European Union during a speech at a local convention Tuesday.
“Instead of helping us, the first to criticize is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” Duterte said.
He then turned his attention toward the EU, saying, “Better choose purgatory, hell is filled up.”
Concerns have been raised by the U.S. government, the EU, United Nations and multiple human rights groups after approximately 3,000 suspected drug dealers and pushers have been killed in the Philippines over the last three months. Duterte, however, maintains he has done nothing illegal and the drug dealers were killed in ongoing gang wars or by others acting in self-defense.
Likewise, Duterte shot back at those who criticized his methods, including the U.S., which – concerned over violations of human rights – asked him to halt the killings of drug dealers. Duterte expressed his disappointment in the U.S. and said he has lost all respect for the country, which he said is filled with “hypocrites.”
To top it all off, Duterte, who previously said U.S. troops needed to get out of his country, indicated a “break up” with American allies may be imminent.
“Eventually I might in my term, break up with America,” Duterte said. “I would rather go to Russia or to China. Even if we do not agree with their ideology, they have respect for the people. Respect is important.”
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Josh Earnest reacted to Duterte’s comments.
“This is an alliance that is robust and that benefits both of our countries,” Earnest said. “Even as we protect this strong alliance, the administration and the United States of America will not hesitate to raise our concerns about extra-judicial killings. We remain deeply concerned by reports of widespread extrajudicial killings by or at the behest of government authorities in the Philippines. The use of that kind of tactic is entirely inconsistent with universal human rights and the shared values of our two countries.”