The US Embassy in the Philippines on Friday said it finds “inappropriate and unacceptable” comments on Philip Goldberg, its ambassador to Manila, made this week by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The embassy, in a statement, cited Goldberg as a “multi-time ambassador and one of the US Department of State’s most senior diplomats.”
Duterte last week referred to Goldberg as the “gay ambassador” of State Secretary John Kerry.
The US Embassy noted that Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the Office of Press Relations at the State department, had invited Patrick Chuasoto, Philippine charge d’affaires, “to directly convey our view that the comments were inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The President apparently was belatedly reacting to Goldberg’s criticism during the election campaign in May this year.
Duterte drew flak from Goldberg for saying he would have wanted to be the first to rape an Australian missionary who was sexually assaulted by inmates during a prison riot in 1989 in Davao City, where the President had served as mayor.
He said Goldberg should not have meddled in domestic politics.
President ‘not sorry’
The President on Friday maintained that he won’t apologize to Goldberg after calling the diplomat “gay.”
Speaking to reporters at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu, Duterte insisted that he had nothing to say sorry for.
“I’m still smarting. I will not apologize for anything. He didn’t even apologize when we saw each other. So why will I apologize to him?” he said.
“He started it but when we saw each other several times in Malacañang, he never said sorry,” the President added.
The embassy said a US funding of $32 million, like all forms of American assistance, is subject to the “same rigorous vetting as our other [forms of]security assistance.”
It added US security assistance “promotes human rights through training content and by promoting professionalism, due process, and the rule of law.”
“Our partnership with the Philippines is based on a shared respect for rule of law, and we will continue to emphasize the importance of this fundamental democratic principle,” the US Embassy said.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE