Duterte vows not to come to US: 'I've seen America, and it's lousy'
By KRISTINE PHILLIPS | The Washington Post | Published: July 22, 2017
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, previously praised and invited by President Donald Trump to come to the White House, said he won't visit the United States during or after his term because the country is "lousy."
Duterte's remarks about one of the Philippines' oldest allies was in response to Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., who recently said he would protest if the Filipino leader utilized Trump's invitation.
"There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter. So what makes that guy think I'll go to America? I've seen America and it's lousy," Duterte told reporters Friday about McGovern.
McGovern led a hearing in Congress Thursday on Duterte's drug war that has resulted in a mass killing of suspected addicts and dealers in the Philippines. More than 7,000 deaths have been reported from July 1, 2016, to Jan. 21, according to the Philippine National Police. The deaths were carried out both by police and unknown vigilantes.
Human rights groups have strongly criticized the controversial Filipino leader's method in eradicating his country's drug problem, citing lack of due process and killings that targeted the poor.
"We should be clear what an extrajudicial killing or execution is: It is the purposeful killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding," McGovern said in his opening remarks. "No arrest. No warrant. No judge. No jury. Simply, murder."
McGovern added that someone with Duterte's abysmal human rights record shouldn't be invited to the United States. "If he comes, I will lead a protest," the congressman said. "We ought to be on the side of advocating for human rights, not explaining them away."
Duterte shot back Friday, telling reporters that he, too, can - and will - investigate the United States' history of human rights violation.
"You're investigating me and the internal affairs of my country? I'm investigating you, and I will investigate you, and I will expose it to the world what you did to the Filipino, especially to the Moro Filipino," Duterte said, likely referring to the Battle of Bud Dajo in 1906 in the island of Jolo in Mindanao in the southernmost part of the Philippines. American troops killed more than 600 Moro people as they tried to take control of Mindanao, home to the country's Muslims.
Duterte has frequently brought up the 1906 massacre when confronted with criticisms of his drug war.
Ironically, Duterte is carrying out his own battles with Muslim militants. The Philippine Congress on Saturday approved his appeal to extend martial law in Marawi in the island of Mindanao to the end of the year, the Associated Press reported. The city has been besieged by militants linked to the Islamic State.