Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, notorious for using profanity liberally towards others in politics, told an audience of soldiers Friday that his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went well but that U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg was a “homosexual” “son of a bitch” who “really annoys me.”
Duterte met with Kerry and Goldberg in late July to discuss the response to Manila winning an international court case against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. Kerry, he told the audience Friday, is “okay, but I had an argument with their ambassador, that bakla [homosexual]. Son of a bitch, he really annoys me.” There is no record of Goldberg publicly identifying as gay, indicating Duterte meant to use the word purely derisively.
Duterte’s feud with Goldberg began while the former was still a presidential candidate. Goldberg issued a condemnation of a joke Duterte made on the campaign trail, suggesting that the gang rape of a young woman in Davao City, where he served as mayor for 22 years, was only a tragedy because he himself did not get to have sex with her first. “Any statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder, are not ones that we condone,” Goldberg said at the time.
Duterte responded then to Goldberg that he would sever all diplomatic ties with the United States if he became president in response to Goldberg’s condemnation, and that he would give the United States “a shit” if Goldberg did not “shut your mouth.” The rape remark landed Duterte in international news headlines and cemented his reputation abroad as loose-lipped and little concerned with maintaining a proper image.
On Friday, Duterte once again complained about Goldberg’s statement against his “joke.” “Interfering in elections, giving statements here and there. You’re not supposed to do that,” he complained.
Duterte also praised himself for insulting Americans. “This is great!” he told the audience, “let’s insult them again so these fools try to make amends again.” Kerry inked a deal for America to provide the Philippines with $32 million to use in Duterte’s war on drugs, a cornerstone of his presidential campaign.
Duterte has repeatedly insulted those that oppose his war on drugs. To eradicate drug traffickers and addicts, Duterte has enabled the police to shoot first, ask questions later, and encouraged armed civilians to kill drug suspects by providing a bounty comprised of his leftover campaign funds. His administration is demanding the Philippine Congress funnel more money into rehabilitation centers to encourage addicts who do not traffic drugs to come forward to police and abandon drug abuse; those who do not face death in a police shootout.
In response to Duterte’s campaign, an estimated 500,000 drug addicts have turned themselves into authorities so far.
While Duterte has encouraged rehabilitation for addicts, particularly abusers of “shabu,” or methamphetamine, he has called for the execution of drug traffickers on the streets. He has named the nation’s wealthiest drug traffickers, called out mayors and other politicians who enable toe trade, and repeatedly asserted he does not “care about human rights.” “If I order the killing of someone, you cannot arrest me, I have immunity,” he said in separate remarks Friday, drawing the ire of human rights organizations.
Rumors have circulated in Philippine media that mayors with ties to the drug trade have begged for private meetings with Duterte and cried before him, asking for police not to storm their homes.
Duterte’s National Police Chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, has said that conducting air strikes on the homes of “narco-mayors” is not out of the question: “If those providing them safe haven are armed, then we will request the Air Force to bomb the place.”