A year of speaking his mind: Duterte’s first year in quotes

It can never be said the president is afraid to speak his mind…

President Duterte is not a man afraid to speak his mind, often in language that could best be described as “colourful”.

Foreign leaders, the and even the Pope himself have felt the sharp side of his tongue.

As today (Friday, June 30) marks the first anniversary of his presidency, here are some of the Punisher’s most memorable quotes:

The slave trade

“What is wretched about this is they [drug addicts] are actually, they are slaves.

“Even slaves are better, because if you buy them in the African market, you can make them useful.”

The president addressing an audience of regional governors, who had previously threatened to “poison” if they were involved in illegal drugs.


“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

After criticism from Jewish groups, Duterte apologised for referring to the Nazi leader, but said he was “emphatic” about wanting to kill millions of addicts.

Respect me

“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. You son of a whore, I will curse you at that forum.”

Duterte warns President Obama not to criticise his drug war at a summit in Laos that they were due to attend.

America, you loser

“In this shifting of political and cultural thing, America has it. I mean, I realigned myself in your [China’s] ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia.”

During an official visit to Beijing, Duterte announces his intentions to pivot away from his country’s traditional ally.

On God’s wrath

“It is your karma when your churches got destroyed. You know why God destroys the churches? To show you that you are not deserving of his mercy.”

Referring to Catholic churches in the central Philippines that were damaged in a powerful earthquake in 2013. It was one of many attacks by Duterte on the Catholic Church, which continues to criticise his war on drugs.

Bad karma

“Look how they slant it! I don’t know how but someday, I am not trying to frighten you but someday, karma will come for you.”

Duterte threatens the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which had written critical reports on his drug war.

Before becoming president, the then Mayor Duterte said that some corrupt journalists deserved to die.


“Leave it to me. I will be imprisoned for you. If you three (women), I will say I did it.”

Delivered while addressing soldiers shortly after martial law was declared following the of chaos in Marawi.

He later qualified that the remark was “sarcasm”, not a joke.

What about your dad?

“When your father, the president of the United States, was screwing Lewinsky and the girls in the White House, how did you feel? Did you slam your father?”

The president hits back at Chelsea Clinton after she criticised the above remark.

Hannibal the Cannibal

“Give me vinegar and salt and I’ll eat you. It’s true. Make me angry, give me a terrorist, give me salt and vinegar and I’ll eat your liver.”

Speaking at a sporting event for young people, Duterte warns Islamist terrorists that he would be prepared to out-do them in the brutality stakes.