Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte branded human rights criticisms levied at his administration by leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “personal insult” on Tuesday, dismissing Trudeau’s concern as “bullshit” and refuting the prime minister’s claim that Duterte was “receptive” to his comments.
“[I]t is a personal and official insult. That is why you hear me chewing down curses, epithets, nagmumura (cursing), bullshit and everything because it angers me when you are a foreigner you do not know what is happening in this country,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Philippine Star.
“I was elected by the people of the Republic of the Philippines. I only answer to the people of the Republic of the Philippines,” he added, complaining that foreign critics “don’t even investigate” the situation in the Philippines before condemning him.
“I will never ever allow a foreigner to question me … I will not explain,” he emphasized.
Reuters adds that Duterte clarified that he would address concerns from the Philippine public, but not “any other bullshit, especially foreigners. Lay off.”
While he did not mention Trudeau by name, reporters asked him about a remark the prime minister made that Duterte was “receptive” to criticism.
“As I mentioned to President Duterte, we are concerned with human rights, the extrajudicial killings. I impressed upon him the need to respect the rule of law and, as always, offered Canada’s support and help as a friend to help move forward on what is a real challenge,” Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.
“I will always bring that [human rights] up. The President was receptive to my comments and it was a very cordial and positive exchange,” Trudeau insisted, affirming that “countries around the world would always hear about human rights from Canada” before accusing the Canadian government of human rights abuses on “indigenous people who have been neglected, mistreated for decades.”
The Philippine Star notes that Duterte spokesman Harry Roque could not confirm that Trudeau had even brought up human rights concerns, as he did not do so in public, but he may have in private conversation.
Duterte was elected by a wide margin in 2016 on a promise to eradicate drug crime from the Philippines, which has suffered an ongoing epidemic of “shabu” (methamphetamine) use and violence related to trafficking. Duterte developed a reputation for supporting the use of extra-judicial killing in southern Davao City, where he served as mayor for 22 years, to eradicate the threat. Davao’s transformation into one of the safest locations on the island of Davao was a key selling point of the Duterte campaign.
As president, however, his tactics have garnered global criticism, triggering increasingly outlandish comments from Duterte. A year ago, Duterte was forced to apologize to the international Jewish community after comparing himself to Adolf Hitler and stating he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts. He has threatened to burn down the United Nations headquarters and “slap” its human rights experts.
Before the ASEAN summit began, Duterte warned foreign leaders and dignitaries to “lay off” human rights criticisms of his government.
Trudeau was in the Philippines at the personal invitation of Duterte to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. Duterte is currently the president of ASEAN. In addition to meeting with Duterte, criticisms forced Trudeau to address Canada’s policy of flooding landfills in the Philippines with its domestic waste, a major point of contention from environmental groups who accuse Trudeau’s government of threatening the health and livelihood of Filipinos.
“We welcomed him with our usual Filipino hospitality, fanfare and respect, we hope he will also show respect to our country and our people by taking back their waste to Canada, where it belongs,” an official statement from Greenpeace Philippines read.
Duterte spokesman Roque said the president “is relying on the principle of good faith in Canada’s statement that they would take back their trash. The President expects that Prime Minister Trudeau would do that.”