US says Duterte’s ‘bakla’ comment vs Goldberg ‘inappropriate’
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s undiplomatic remarks against United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg, the US Department of State has asked its charge d’affaires to explain the “inappropriate comments.”
Department of State press director Elizabeth Trudeau told US reporters on Monday that they had asked Filipino charge d’affaires Patrick Chuasoto to visit and clarify those remarks.
Duterte, during a speech in Cebu City, called Goldberg “bakla” or “gay” for supposedly meddling in Philippine politics. The President said the ambassador did not have the right to involve himself in the Philippine elections by “giving statements here and there.”
Duterte is holding a grudge against Goldberg who spoke against his comment on the rape of an Australian missionary during a jail assault in Davao City almost three decades ago. Goldberg at that time said, “statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder are not ones that we condone.”
Trudeau confirmed that the State Department was aware of the Philippine President’s remarks.
“We’ve seen those inappropriate comments made about Ambassador Goldberg,” she said. “He’s a multi-time ambassador, one of our most senior US diplomats.”
Complying with HR obligations
Trudeau also spoke about the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Responding to a reporter who asked about the “the exercise of the rule of law to demand people surrender and threaten to hunt them down,” she said, “I guess I’d start sort of taking a back step and taking a look at our partnership, which is based on respect for rule of law.”
“We’ll continue in our conversations with Filipino authorities to emphasize the importance of this fundamental democratic principle,” she said.
While Duterte’s supporters laud the large number of surrendering politicians and other personalities, some groups have expressed alarm over the increasing death toll of suspected drug users and pushers.
“We believe in due process. We believe in respect for universal human rights. We believe fundamentally that those aspects ensure and promote long-term security,” Trudeau said.
“We are concerned by these detentions, as well as the extrajudicial killing of individuals suspected to be involved in drug activity in the Philippines. We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts comply with its human rights obligations,” she said.