Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte made headlines earlier this month by rekindling a public spat with U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg, insulting the American envoy in an address to military personnel which was broadcast on local television Friday, August 5.
Speaking in Tagolog, the official language of the Philippines, Duterte said:
“As you know, I’m fighting with (Sec. of State John Kerry’s) ambassador. His gay ambassador, the son of a whore. He pissed me off.”
Duterte was elected president in May, using brazen campaign rhetoric similar to what Donald Trump has successfully employed in the U.S.
One comment in particular drew the ire of U.S. Ambassador Goldberg, when Duterte said he would like to have raped a “beautiful” female missionary from Australia who was sexually assaulted and killed in a 1989 prison riot in Duterte’s hometown of Davao where he served as mayor for two and a half decades.
Duterte claimed that Goldberg “was meddling in the elections, giving statements here and there,” which “he wasn’t supposed to (be doing).”
The American embassy in the Philippines has since called the president’s remarks about Goldberg “inappropriate and unacceptable”, and the Filipino chargé d’affaires was called by the U.S. State Department on Monday to explain Duterte’s insulting comment.
On Friday, president Duterte still refused to apologize. “He didn’t apologize to me when we saw each other,” Duterte said. “Why should I apologize to him?”
The U.S. embassy has also threatened to pull foreign aid to the Philippines for the “shoot-to-kill” policy Duterte has publicly touted, and which state police say has led to the deaths of 550 suspected drug dealers since the May elections.
The U.S. most recently gave a conditional $32 million in foreign aid to fund Filipino policing efforts. “All of our security assistance promotes human rights through training content and by promoting professionalism, due process and rule of law,” the embassy said in a statement.
Filipino media outlet ABS-CBN has reported that nearly 1,000 people in the country have perished due to the drug raids — approximately 400 at the hands of unauthorized bounty hunters.