President Duterte has vowed that he would never visit “lousy” America despite an invitation from President Trump.
Speaking to reporters in Davao City today (Friday, July 21), the president was expressing his anger at criticism of his war on drugs during a US Congress commission hearing.
“There will never be a time during my term when I will be going to America or thereafter,” he said.
“I’ve seen America and its lousy. They have many human rights violations.”
The president has made no secret of his distain for America and his desire to redirect his foreign policy more towards China and Russia.
On numerous occasions he has insulted leading public figures, including President Obama and former ambassador Philip Goldberg, and has even taken a swipe at the citizens of the country, saying “for every five Americans, three are idiots”.
He has also threatened to tear up military treaties with his country’s closest ally and drastically scaled back annual joint military exercises.
With the election of Donald Trump to the White House, many analysts suggested that their apparent similarities could see closer ties restored.
Indeed, in April, Trump telephoned Duterte and praised his approach to the drug problem before inviting him to the White House. The pair had previously spoken soon after Trump’s election victory last year.
Speaking soon after the April conversation, the president said he could not commit to such a visit because he had other overseas trips scheduled. In the first year of his presidency, he has visited 16 sovereign countries.
At the Congressional hearing on human rights violations yesterday, US Congressman James McGovern said that Duterte should not have been invited and that he would lead protests if he appeared.
He said: “No other country comes to mind where people are assassinated in the streets in the name of fighting drugs and leaders brag about it as a good thing.
“I certainly believe, very strongly, that a man with the human rights records of President Duterte should not be invited to the White House, and if he comes, I will lead the protest.”
This prompted the angry response from the president who asked: “What makes that guy think I will go to America?
“Somebody asked me if I’m going to America. Right? What was my response? You guys must be dreaming.”
The president also hit back at the US Congress, saying it should investigate America’s alleged human rights violations in the Philippines and in the Middle East.
“Otherwise, I will be forced to investigate you also. I will start with your past sins and I will produce the – from your archives – the photographs of the people you murdered here in the Philippines, the Moro people massacre, thousands of them,” he said.
“So I will start the investigation also. Why? Was there no human rights before?” he asked.