Lashing out at critics portraying him as a “cousin of Hitler,” President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts, like what the Nazi leader did when he sent the Jews to the gas chambers.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte told reporters in his home city of Davao shortly after returning from a visit to Vietnam.
“At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have,” he said, then paused. “But you know, my victims, I would like to be (sic) all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
Duterte’s analogy with Adolf Hitler, whose campaign to wipe out Jews in Europe led to about six million deaths by the end of World War II, triggered immediate condemnation.
“These statements are revolting and President Duterte must retract them and apologize,” World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder said in a statement.
“What President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heart-breaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country,” he added.
East, while expressing concern over the Philippines’ anti-drug war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 drug suspects.
“There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you’re worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000,” Duterte said.
“If you were in my place, who wouldn’t curse? You’re portrayed or pictured to be some cousin of Hitler and yet they do not even bother to find out, to investigate,” Duterte said.
“Presidente ka tapos ganunin ka [You’re the President and they’re doing this to you],” he added.
Duterte, 71, won elections in May in a landslide after a campaign dominated by his pledge to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of drug suspects.
Duterte however has clarified that he did not authorize police to engage in summary killings, only to kill suspects in self-defense.
Duterte also called out two United States senators critical of the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country,” telling them, “Do not interfere in our affairs.”
Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, a member of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee, earlier said in a colloquy with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, that “in advocating and endorsing what amounts to mass murder, [the Duterte administration]has chosen the wrong way” to deal with the problems caused by illegal drugs.
Duterte said: “Do not interfere in our affairs. I will ask him now. Why are you shooting the black people there when they are on the ground?”
The President was referring to controversy in the US over alleged racial prejudice among law enforcers.
“Sila puwede tapos tayo hindi? `Yan ang sinasabi ko, hypocrisy [They can do it but we can’t? That’s what I call hypocrisy]. There’s a proper way of arresting a black man there. You arrest them …you grapple with him, pin him to the ground, place him under handcuffs, and bring him to the station,” Duterte said.
“I’d like to tell the government of the United States: Stop this hypocrisy game and we are all right. Stop being hypocrites. Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because you do not have the eligibility to do that in my country,” he said.