PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, November 9, threatened to ban from the Philippines two United States (US) congressmen, who have expressed opposition to his war on illegal drugs.
Duterte revealed his plan to instruct the Bureau of Immigration to ban "two senators," apparently referring to US congressmen Randy Hultgren and James McGovern.
This comes after Hultgren and McGovern, co-chairs of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, urged US President Donald Trump to express America's "profound concern" on the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte's campaign against narcotics.
"I will tell them: You are too presumptuous. What made you think that I am even planning or about to visit your country? I'd like to know their names because I can include them in the Immigration barred list. I'm serious about it," the President said in an interview in Vietnam on Thursday night.
"You are prohibited from entering (the Philippines). Or I will protest, if that is the farthest I can go," he added.
Hultgren and McGovern, in an open letter addressed to Trump, urged the American leader to raise their concern on Duterte's drug war.
The two lawmakers stressed that the Philippines, while it continues to address the drug problem, should ensure that there will be no human rights violation.
"Human rights are fundamental. Every government should afford their citizens the protection and due process of the law. The Philippines is a valuable ally of the United States and major recipients of US aid. For these reasons, it is paramount that human rights violations not be the consequences of the Philippines' war on drugs," they said.
Duterte brushed aside the two American congressmen's remark and merely said: "If you do not like me, I do not like you. We're even."
Duterte, however, said he was expecting to have an "interesting time" with Trump during their anticipated meeting on the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.
But he said he would tell Trump to "lay off," should the latter attempt to raise human rights concerns, in connection with his crackdown on illegal drugs.
"I feel that we share so many ideas along the same line of problems of governance. I know that I'd have an intersting time with him," Duterte said. "(But if he will talk about our war on drugs, I'll tell him) lay off, sir, that's my business." (SunStar Philippines)