Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would never ever set foot in the United States, which he described as a “lousy” country.
“I’ve seen America and it’s lousy. …There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter,” Duterte said on Friday.
Duterte’s remarks came after a US Congressman said he would protest against US President Donald Trump’s invitation to the firebrand Philippine leader for a visit to the United States.
Trump has been criticized for inviting Duterte to the White House during a telephone conversation between the two leaders in April.
“So what makes that guy think I’ll go to America?” he told reporters, referring to the Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, who had objected to Duterte’s visit to the United States over his shady rights record.
McGovern had made the comment on Thursday at a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, consisting of members of the US House of Representatives, who met to review Duterte’s deadly, year-old war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Philippine citizens.
Duterte hit back at the US rights commission by saying, “It would be good for the US Congress to start with their own investigation of their own violations of the so many civilians killed in the prosecution of the wars in the Middle East.”
“Otherwise I will be forced to investigate you also,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Duterte’s spokesman said President Trump had lauded his Filipino counterpart for doing a “great job” against narcotics.
A leaked transcript obtained by the New York Times quoted Trump as commending Duterte for his “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”
Human rights groups and international bodies, however, say many of the deaths linked to Duterte’s war on drugs were extrajudicial killings, and summary executions by police.