PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday denied calling US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore,” blaming the news media for “spinning” his statements and the US State department.
“I never made any reference to Obama,” Duterte told members of the Filipino community in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he went for a working visit after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits in Vientiane, Laos.
“You can review the tapes … May sinabi ako [I said something] but not in relation to Obama,” the President said.
His point, Duterte said, was that he did not want Obama to take him to account for the killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, as he does not answer to anybody “except the Filipino people.”
“Sabi ko, ‘huwag ninyo akong bastusin. Putang ina ninyo, babuyin ko kayo riyan.’ Iyan lang sinabi ko [I said, ‘Do not disrespect me. Sons of whores, we will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that.’ That’s what I said],” he added.
Duterte’s remarks at the Davao International Airport on Monday have been the subject of much debate, with a number of commentators pointing out that Duterte’s expletive “putang ina” was mistranslated by the international press to “son of a whore” and thus appeared to have been addressed to Obama.
But Duterte told his Jakarta audience “putang ina” has no direct translation.
Obama said before leaving Laos on Thursday that he did not take offense at Duterte’s words “because it seems as if this is a phrase he’s used repeatedly including directed at the Pope and others.”
Duterte’s Monday outburst however had forced the White House to cancel a bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
On Tuesday, Duterte expressed regret for lashing out at Obama.
Media, US State department to blame
In Jakarta, Duterte spoke for the first time about what happened in the holding room for leaders attending the Asean gala dinner in Vientiane, where he met briefly with Obama.
“Sinabi ko sa kanya [I told him this], ‘President Obama, I’m President Duterte. I’ve never made that statement. You can check it out,” Duterte said.
“He (Obama) said, ‘My men will talk to you.’ I said, ‘Okay,’” Duterte added.
The President then blamed the media, particularly the international press, whom he claimed made the erroneous reports about him calling Obama a “son of a whore.”
“For whatever reason, the things you say, they (the media) can spin stories several times over,” Duterte said.
“If they are after you, they would—I said—make it appear to be the worst of you. So watch out the press. They can spin. They will spin everything to make [you look bad]. Me? I don’t give a shit. Why? Because I am not the president of the international community,” he added.
Duterte also lashed out at the US State department for supposedly having a double standard on human rights. The State department announced prior to the Asean meetings that Obama would raise the killings of drug suspects in the Philippines during a bilateral meeting with Duterte.
“Itong State Department, parang mga ulol na nagsama-sama. Para bang kung tayo, violation. Sa kanila, hindi [This State department, they’re crazy. When it’s us, there are human rights violations. When it’s them, there’s none],” the President said.
Duterte claimed he had no quarrel with the US, despite Washington giving the Philippines “principles of law and nothing else.”
In a sarcastic tone he thanked the US for its defense assistance, saying two fighter jets it gave recently was good for show.
“We have received so many things from America. Thank you for your generosity. What they sold us, two, only two FA-50 (fighter jets). It’s FA-50 but they never gave us the missiles and the bullets and the canons to fight. For ceremonial lang [only],” Duterte said.