Now, Duterte launches attack on UN
Controversial President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has launched a profanity-laced tirade against the United Nations, criticizing the world body as being too weak to fix problems in the Middle East and Africa.
At a press conference late on Thursday, Duterte vented his anger on the United Nations in response to a question about foreign media groups that were critical of him.
“That’s the trouble here, they’re always raising fears about this or that United Nations convention,” Duterte said, even though the journalists’ criticism had not been linked to UN protocols.
“Fuck you UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage… couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa… shut up all of you.”
Duterte, 71, had been incensed by the criticism of foreign and local media groups to his comments earlier in the week that corrupt journalists were legitimate targets of assassination.
Explaining his stance on corrupt journalists, Duterte said on Tuesday that one murdered reporter who was a vocal critic of his deserved to die.
Sought for comment, incoming Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said: “The statements of our President [-elect] should not be taken as policy statements. These are personal statements and he is not yet sitting as President, just enjoying his time as a mayor.”
Duterte on Thursday refused to apologize for his statements about corrupt journalists, and warned the reporters, “Don’t fuck with me.”
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with 174 murdered since a chaotic and corruption-plagued democracy replaced the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos three decades ago.
The United Nations has made no recent criticism of Duterte, who has been mayor of the southern city of Davao for most of the past two decades and will be sworn into office on June 30.
But in 2008, the then-UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston, highlighted concerns about unsolved murders in Davao.
“A death squad operates in Davao City, with men routinely killing street children and others in broad daylight,” Alston said in a report.
Human rights groups have accused Duterte of links to the so-called Davao Death Squads, which they say have murdered more than 1,000 people.
Duterte has variously denied and acknowledged any links to them.
But he has been unequivocal that thousands of criminals will be killed when he takes office and unleashes security forces in an unprecedented war on crime.
One of Duterte’s main election campaign pledges was to end crime within six months of taking office.
This week he offered bounties worth tens of thousands of dollars to security forces who killed drug traffickers.
Duterte courted further controversy by wolf-whistling a female journalist, then responding to her husband’s outrage by insisting he was not sexually harassing her.
Yasay, who has been meeting with senior diplomats on key policy issues such as the South China Sea dispute, said Duterte’s comments concerning the United Nations and journalists were personal statements that were blown out of proportion.
“There were a lot of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of what he (Duterte) was trying to say,” Yasay said in an interview at the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday.
Yasay said the public should give Duterte a chance.
“He (Duterte) has promised when he sits as President, things will be different. He will be more circumspect. He will be more deliberate because this will be a clear indication that he is airing policies. But now there is no basis that what he is saying is our policy statement,” Yasay said. AFP; with a report from Estrella Torres/TVJ
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