‘I want to slap you’: Philippines’ Duterte invites drug war critics to face-to-face talk
President Rodrigo Duterte has once again slammed the critics of his controversial war on drugs approach, saying those who recommend rehabilitation and substitute treatment should visit him personally in the Philippines because he wants to “slap them.”
“Come here and we will talk because I want to slap you,” Duterte said in a speech late Friday, blasting those who advise him to abandon his extreme anti-drug policy and instead build “clinics around like in other countries, and give shabu, cocaine, and heroin like in Holland.”
Earlier this week Duterte called the European Union politicians “sons of b***hes” for proposing to him such a “government-sponsored idiotic exercise” instead of arresting and putting drug dealers in prison.
The confrontation between Manila and Brussels exacerbated mid-March after EU lawmakers adopted a resolution condemning the “many extrajudicial killings” allegedly taking place in the Philippines. In response Duterte told the EU not to interfere with Philippines affairs, threatening to “hang” his critics.
“I will just be happy to hang you. If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you,” Duterte said in March. The recent rhetoric by Duterte prompted the European Union on Monday to summon the Philippines envoy for an explanation.
Duterte’s attitude toward the nation’s narcotics problem has been ruthless – with human rights organizations estimating that more than 8,000 people have been killed in the police crackdown on drug dealers and abusers since June 2016.
The president’s anti-drug rhetoric has been equally severe in public addresses, where Duterte has previously said he would be “happy to slaughter” drug addicts and hang criminals “like curtains”.
Speaking on Friday, Duterte once again emphasized that he ordered police to kill drug dealers only if they resist arrest. At the same time, Duterte wondered why the EU blindly trusts reports of non-government groups that tend to blame even medically related deaths on the anti-drugs crackdown.
“This EU believes to NGOs (non-government organizations) about the killings, even [those who die because of] epilepsy. They calculate it on me. Stupid,” the outspoken president said.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, the European Union’s envoy to the Philippines, Franz Jessen, urged Manila to observe all the human rights conventions or risk losing trade ties with the EU.
“We are monitoring the respect of these (UN) conventions by the Philippines and we will carefully consider what implications the findings might have for our trade engagement with the Filipinos,” Jessen said.