PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte dared US officials to oust him as he maintained that he will not allow America to treat the Philippines like a “doormat.”
“You want to oust me? You want to use the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)? Go ahead. I said, I will put at stake my honor, my life and the presidency. What happens to me is really a part of my destiny. If I am ousted, then that is part of my presidency,” he added.
In September, the President claimed that the CIA, a civilian foreign intelligence of the US federal government, was planning to kill him.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said officials are investigating the supposed plot to oust Duterte and that they already know the names of the people reportedly behind the plot.
“We take any destabilization move seriously whether it’s rumor or it’s A-1 information. It’s against the law…It’s inciting to rebellion,” Andanar had said.
Andanar said he received information about the supposed oust Duterte plan from “’credible sources in the United States.”
In a speech in Davao City, Duterte also told US officials to “assess” themselves, or else, they will lose their partnership with the Philippines.
“Assess yourselves because if you don’t, you will lose the Philippines,” the President said as he stressed that under his term, he will not allow the US to treat the Philippines like a “doormat.”
“As long as I am there, do not treat us like a doormat because you will be sorry for it. I will not stick with you,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive said he has written letters to his critics – the US, the United Nations and the European Union – asking them to probe his war on drugs amid concerns over alleged extrajudicial killings.
“The Americans, [US President Barack]
Obama, [UN human rights officials], and also the bright boys of Europe … I wrote them a letter. It’s already done,” the President said in his speech at the launch of a business mentoring program at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City on Friday night.
“I invited the human rights [advocates], Obama, the [US] State department, and the EU. Come here, investigate me,” he added.
Last month, Duterte gave his foreign critics the green light to visit the Philippines and conduct an inquiry on the spate of killings of drug personalities.
But the President said he would cross-examine them after they complete their investigation.
“In return, allow me also to ask you questions so it would be equal. You can have your cake—pin me down—and eat it too,” Duterte said.
“What are you? Do you think you are lucky? You think you are brighter than me? Go here [and let’s see],” he added.
Duterte has been accused of using vigilantes to kill criminals in his home city of Davao, where he served as mayor for two decades.
Edgar Matobato, a confessed former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, told a Senate hearing that he killed criminals and others on Duterte’s orders.
But Duterte denied ordering the killings, saying the deaths of suspected criminals in Davao were the handiwork of crime gangs and drug syndicates.
On Thursday, the President challenged US officials to withdraw their aid, saying he would “never beg” for it as the Philippines could survive even without their help.
“We sacrificed for you. You stayed here. You are still doing business here. I just swallowed that. We suffered during the last Second World War because you were here. Had you not been here, we would not have experienced so much destruction in the country. The Battle of Manila, 200,000 Filipinos died because you were here,” he said.
Duterte then reiterated that there would be no more joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US under his term.
Instead, the Philippines will open its door to other countries like China and Russia.
He, however, clarified that he did not intend to “antagonize” the US.
“But I say, try to give us a little of respect. You do not go around reprimanding a head of state,” Duterte said.
No word from Manila
He also gave notice that there will no longer be joint patrols at the disputed South China Sea.
But Washington has yet to receive word from Manila on the future of joint patrols between the Philippine and US militaries.
Asked if Manila had communicated with Washington regarding the curtailment of the joint patrols, US State department spokesman John Kirby answered in the negative.
“I saw those comments, and we checked with our colleagues at the Defense department. They’re not aware of any official notification of the curtailment of these activities. Here at the State Department, we are, likewise, not aware of any official notification of the curtailment,” Kirby told reporters.
“[W]e’re focused on the very real, very significant security commitments we have through our alliance with the Philippines,” he added.
On Friday in Manila, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Washington had been informed of Duterte’s desire to end joint patrols in the disputed waters.
Duterte had said there would be no more patrols in the West Philippine Sea to avoid upsetting other claimants to the dispute waters, and that the October 4 to 12 amphibious landing exercises would be the last during his term.
Kirby however said the President’s comments run afoul of the close ties between the two allies.
“And we think comments like this, whether they are or will be backed up by actual action or not, are really at odds with the closeness of the relationships that we have with the people of the Philippines and which we fully intend to continue,” he added.
Outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg told American businessmen on October 5 the bilateral cooperation and relationship between the Philippines and the US were strong and that commitments remained unchanged.