In Brief

Rodrigo Duterte: Philippines President likens himself to Hitler

Leader says he would be 'happy' if his campaign against drug dealers was as effective as the Holocaust

Philippines President Roderigo Duterte has likened his campaign against drug dealers to the Holocaust, saying he would kill as many drug dealers as Hitler did Jews.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. There are three million drug addicts [in the Philippines] and I'd be happy to slaughter them," he said.

He also complained that critics had portrayed him as a "cousin of Hitler", before adding he would be "happy" if his violent campaign against dealers was as effective as the Holocaust.

"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines will have…," he said, pointing to himself. "You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition."

Duterte was elected in May following a campaign in which he pledged to crack down on drug dealers. He has previously likened himself to Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, The Independent says.

More than 3,100 people have been killed since he took office, either by police or vigilantes, and 6000 are expected to be executed by the end of the year.

US President Barack Obama, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the European Parliament have all "voiced concern," over the killings, the Daily Mail reports. A UN rights expert also warned last month that his call for drug suspects to be killed "violated international law."

Barack Obama cancels Rodrigo Duterte meeting after 'whore' insult

6 September

US President Barack Obama has cancelled a scheduled meeting with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, after being called a "son of a whore" by his counterpart.

The pair were due to meet for the first time today in Laos, during the Association of South-east Asian Nations summit.

Obama had previously stated that he would "raise the issue of drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines". More than 2,400 people have been killed in the Philippines in the past two months, in the state-sanctioned "war on drugs".

However, in a media conference in Manila yesterday, Duterte issued a warning to the US president that the topic was not open for discussion, and that Obama "must be respectful".

"Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum," said Duterte.

Obama learned of the insult as he left the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, and told his aides to speak to Philippines officials to find out if it was "in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations".

"I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting, that it's actually productive and we're getting something done," he said.

Hours later, White House officials announced that the meeting with Duterte had been cancelled, and that Obama would instead meet President Park Geun-hye of South Korea.

It is not the first time Duterte has insulted a foreign dignitary. The Filipino President recently referred to US ambassador Philip Goldberg as a "gay son of a whore", and called Pope Francis a "son of a whore" in May.

Rodrigo Duterte: Will Philippines president bring back death penalty?

1 August 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation address, delivered a week ago, included promises to reform the tax system and a vow to support freedom of information. The address also granted him emergency powers to address traffic congestion in the capital, Manila. What the speech failed to mention, however, were two controversial bills that Duterte's congressional allies want to prioritise: the reimposition of the death penalty and the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old.

Duterte, who took office at the end of June, called for the reintroduction of capital punishment, which was repealed in 2006, as part of his campaign against crime and, specifically, the drugs trade.

The incoming president has been accused of having links to vigilante death squads, the South China Morning Post reports.

Human Rights Watch last month dubbed the new president the "death squad mayor" for the strong-arm tactics he used to reduce crime in Davao city when he was in charge there.

But Duterte's approach – he won this year's presidential election with a landslide victory – has won him many supporters. "Very heartfelt and straight to the point" was the verdict of Tony Katigbak, writing in the Philippine Star, on his speech. "I believe President Duterte wants peace and he wants to create a country that everyone can equally share."

The fact that there appeared to be little of coherence or substance in his address should not surprise people, says the Philippines Daily Inquirer. Duterte's charisma stems "from the man's penchant to tell stories in order to contextualise his no-nonsense approach to governance".

And the fact that issues like capital punishment are now matters of national debate is because the new president started talking about them. If change is coming to the Philippines, "it will be because someone, at last, has decided to hitch common sense to single-mindedness to solve the country's problems."

Rodrigo Duterte: Up to 300 dead in Philippines 'war on drugs'

28 July

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has used his first state of the nation address to urge police and vigilantes to escalate his deadly "war on drugs", despite the killing of nearly 300 people since the beginning of July.

"We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars… or below ground if you wish," he said.

Duterte swept to power earlier this year on an anti-drug, anti-crime platform that included a plan to pay bounties of up to £17,000 for the deaths of drug dealers and addicts.

Human rights groups have reported that, according to police data, 293 suspected users and pushers had been killed in police operations since 1 July.

That figure "does not include those slain in extrajudicial killings by vigilantes", says the Sydney Morning Herald. Many of those victims have had their bodies left in the street, their hands and feet tied bound with tape, with cardboard signs describing their crimes.

Approximately 60,000 Filipino drug addicts have "flocked to the nation's rehabilitation centers looking to cut their habits before Duterte's police arrest or kill them", Breitbart News reports.

Church officials in Manila have called for the killings to stop and launched a campaign based on the bible's sixth commandment: "Thou shalt not kill."

"We denounce the extrajudicial killings happening in the country, done by men in uniform, by vigilantes and other groups… under the baton of the maestro," Father Atilano Fajardo, the director of the Manila archdiocese's public affairs ministry, told Asia One News. "We uphold due process of law and the dignity of human life."

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte assumes office: Meet the family

1 July

Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines new president yesterday - and started his term in office by urging the population to kill drug addicts.

Duterte made a measured speech after being sworn in, says The Guardian, "extending an olive branch to the country's elites" after a campaign that cast him as an anti-establishment figure.

A later speech, however, saw him return to his rabble-rousing norm. Addressing 500 people in a Manilla slum, Duterte spouted profanities as he spoke about drug traffickers.

"These sons of whores are destroying our children," he said. "I warn you, don't go into that [drug dealing], even if you're a policeman, because I will really kill you."

He added: "If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful."

During his campaign, Duterte who is known as "The Punisher" in Davao City, where he has spent many years as mayor, promised to kill 100,000 people in his crackdown on drugs, saying so many dead bodies would be dumped in Manilla Bay that the fish would grow fat on them.

New first family

Politics has tended to be dynastic in the Philippines. Duterte replaces Benigno Aquino III, whose mother, Cory, was president after her opposition leader husband, Benigno Aquino Jr, was assassinated under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos - whose son, "Bongbong", ran for vice president this year.

Duterte's children are already politically active. Here is a quick guide to the family:


The new president, nicknamed "Duterte Harry" during his campaign, is a 71-year-old former lawyer who claims to have personally killed drug traffickers and criminals. He has promised to reintroduce the death penalty and joked on the campaign trail about raping a nun.

Sara "Inday"

Duterte's only daughter with his former wife - he has another by his current girlfriend – is now the mayor of Davao City, taking over from her father. The two have passed the mayoralty back and forth for years, ruling the city with vigilante gangs. Sara will act as her father's official First Lady.

Paolo "Pulong"

Paolo, the eldest son, is vice mayor to his sister in Davao City. He earned his father's wrath during the presidential campaign by endorsing a different vice presidential candidate from his father's running mate.

Sebastian "Baste"

Duterte's youngest son says he has no political ambitions, but became a surprise heart-throb for his father's supporters during the presidential campaign, reports Filipino broadcaster ABS CBN.

Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena

Duterte's girlfriend has refused to act as his first lady. A former nurse, she runs her own business and has a teenage daughter, Veronica "Kitty" Duterte, with the President.


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