Bilateral ties between the Philippines and the European Union remains on track despite President Duterte’s outburst cursing the 28-nation bloc for expressing concerns over his government’s war on drugs that have so far left hundreds of suspects dead, its ambassador said on Wednesday.
The European Union was not spared from the president’s verbal attack, joining UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barrack Obama and the Pope who were earlier cussed by Mr. Duterte.
EU lawmakers had said the President’s statements encouraged the killing of drug traffickers and users as he embarks on his bloody campaign promise to rid the Southeast Asian country of the scourge.
“The European Union and the Philippines enjoy good relations, and we will continue to discuss this issue, among many others, in our bilateral contacts with the authorities,” EU ambassador Franz Jessen said.
Explaining why he was “bullshitting” the European body, Mr. Duterte said on Wednesday he took offense because he felt he was being unfairly reprimanded.
“When I was mayor, that’s okay. It’s different now that I’m President because I represent a country,” he said in a speech before soldiers in Camarines Sur.
“I am the President of the republic. Why would you insult me, why would you curse at me as if I’m under you? That’s why I’m bullshitting all of them,” Mr. Duterte said.
In a speech before local government officials in Davao City on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte also lashed back at the European Union.
The President said “fuck you” to the EU, and flashed his middle finger, a move that was applauded by his audience.
He said the European Union’s statement was apparently intended to atone for its own sins, stressing that EU member countries had themselves been involved in atrocities in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it could not invite the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard without a resolution approved by the Senate.
“Any UN investigation can only be undertaken upon the invitation of the host country,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said, alluding to a request by Sen. Leila De Lima.
“It should be approved by the Palace,” he said.
But Malacañang’s nod was unlikely since Mr. Duterte has been cussing at international leaders and organizations that criticize his war on drugs, that has left over 3,000 suspects dead, both from police encounters and killings by unknown vigilantes.