Brussels demands answers after Duterte threatened to hang EU officials

President Rodrigo Duterte gives a thumbs up during a press conference in Davao City
“I’ll hang all of you,” said the president, after being criticised by the EU for his war on drugs

The European Union is demanding explanation for an foul-mouthed tirade by President Duterte, who threatened to hang EU officials for criticising his plans to bring back the death penalty.

The EU’s external action service said it summoned the Philippine Charge d’Affaires Alan Deniega to its headquarters to provide “an explanation for the recent, unacceptable comments of President Duterte”.

Speaking at a meeting of Filipino-Chinese businessmen on Friday, the president said: “I will just be happy to hang you. If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you. You are putting us down. You are exerting pressure in every country with the death penalty.”

The move highlights growing European exasperation with the president. Earlier, the EU denied his allegations that it proposed solving the drug problem by creating treatment clinics where illegal drugs like or cocaine would be handed out.

The EU Delegation to the Philippines issued a statement saying it had not “suggested, discussed, proposed or considered the use of any substitution drugs when treating addiction to methamphetamine, or any other drug addiction in the Philippines.”

Duterte, who has lashed out at the EU for raising human rights concerns over his crackdown on drugs, said in a speech on Friday that the EU had proposed a “health-based solution” to the drug problem that involved dispensing doses of narcotics.

He branded the supposed EU proposal a “government-sponsored idiotic exercise”.

“The sons of bitches, they want us to build clinics, then we should, instead of arresting or putting them in prison like in other countries, you go there and if you want they will inject you or give you shabu,” he said in a speech to Filipino-Chinese businessmen. “Then if you want cocaine, they will give you cocaine and if they want heroin, they will give you heroin.”

The EU said that in cooperation with the World Health Organisation and experts, it was working with Manila’s Department of Health and the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency to implement a programme that “aims to support recovery from addiction, while keeping families together and facilitating development of social and job skills”.

The programme plans to develop “recovery clinics and recovery homes,” where patients can receive care, education and counselling without prescribing medication, the EU said.

Thousands have died under the drug war, alarming Western governments, organisations and UN rights officials.

The president has said he will not be intimidated by threats to impeach him or file a case against him before the International Criminal Court.

He has denied condoning extrajudicial killings but has repeatedly threatened drug suspects with death and said he is ready to rot in jail to protect Filipinos from atrocious crimes linked to drugs.


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