President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to withdraw the Philippines from the United Nations, later cushioned by his foreign secretary, is the latest flamboyantly irreverent utterance from a politician who has disparaged the pope, human rights advocates, the United States and other countries who controvert his worldview. His devil-may-care expletives against criminality, corruption and government incompetence helped him build a name as Davao city mayor before he claimed an overwhelming presidential race win that mirrored the depth of public exasperation over the social ills he abhorred. Many in the margins of society are enamored by his death threats against criminals, his anti-establishment rhetoric and his moments of sex-laced gutter humor. Opponents are bewildered, or are growing alarmed, by his rhetoric and the rising toll in his deadly battle against drugs.
Some of the memorable broadsides on Duterte’s growing list of them:
ON THE UNITED NATIONS: “Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you’re that rude, son of a bitch, we’ll just leave you. So take us out of your organization, you have done nothing here anyway … I would invite maybe China, the African … Why don’t they just form another organization? Why do you have to listen to this stupid (organization)?” _ At a post-midnight news conference Sunday over remarks by U.N.-appointed rapporteurs about drug killings.
ON US AID AND DIPLOMATS: “We were talking to (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry, he’s OK but I had a feud with his gay ambassador. Son of a bitch, I’m annoyed with that guy. He meddled in the elections, giving statements here and there … So that Kerry, he came here and we had lunch and he left $33 million with me and (Defense Secretary) Delfin Lorenzana. I said, ahhh this is OK, let’s insult them again so this fool will make a compromise. So this is just about money.” _ To army troops this month after receiving U.S. financial assistance for law enforcement training.
ON DRUG SUSPECTS: “The drug people are really insulting us. You know, I said, they are destroying the country and they are destroying the youth of the land. So my appeal to them is, since they are beyond redemption, they can stop and commit suicide because I will not allow these idiots to run their show, not during my watch … Now, this Peter Lim, … he goes in and out of the Philippines. … I’m sure the Chinese authorities are listening now, better tell him. Do not come back to the Philippines anymore. The moment he steps out of the plane, he will die.” _ At a news conference in July.
ON THE JUDICIARY: “I’m warning you and not me being warned. Do not create a crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you. You want to have a frank talk? … You’re the kingpin of the judiciary. I am the president. I have a job to do and you don’t have one. No judges patrol the streets. No sheriff of yours makes arrests … Please don’t order me around … If this continues, you stop me, OK … or would you rather that I declare martial law?” _ After Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wrote that only the high court is authorized to discipline judges after Duterte linked a few judges to illegal drugs.
ON A SENATOR INVESTIGATING HIS CRACKDOWN: “Here is a senator complaining when one day I will tell you, her driver, who was her lover, was the one also collecting money for her during the campaign. Here is an immoral woman flaunting, well, of course, in so far as the wife of the driver was concerned, it’s adultery. Here is a woman who funded the house of her lover and yet, we do not see any complaints about it. Those money readily came from drugs.” In a speech this month blasting Sen. Leila de Lima, who has denied any wrongdoing and continues to lead a Senate committee investigation of drugs-related killings under Duterte’s crackdown.
ON A SLAIN MISSIONARY: “I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful actress in America. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up on her there. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.” _ Joking at a campaign event in April about the gang rape and killing of an Australian missionary by inmates in a 1989 Davao jail siege.
ON THE POPE’S VISIT: “I wanted to call him, `Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don’t visit here anymore.” _ After a monstrous traffic jam that trapped him and many others in January 2015. Duterte apologized after bishops condemned his language.