AHEAD of his possible meeting with United States (US) President Barack Obama in Laos over extrajudicial killings, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that nobody, even the most powerful world leader, has the right to lecture him on how to run the country.
"Who is he (Obama) to confront me? As a matter of fact, America has one too many to answer for," he said.
Speaking to reporters before he flies to Laos for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits (Asean) on September 6 to 8, the President said that nobody should interfere in his administration's drive to end drug menace as the Philippines is an "independent country."
"I do not want to pick a quarrel with Obama. But certainly, I do not want to appear to be beholden to anybody. I only am answerable, again, to the Filipino people who elected me as president. Period. Nobody but nobody should interfere. This is an independent country," Duterte said.
"Nobody has the right to lecture on me. God, do not do it. You want the right word? We will get into a terrible mess if you do that to me. I do not accept that proposition that anybody is superior than me. We’re supposed to be equal there," he added.
Duterte made the statement ahead of his possible meeting with Obama on the sidelines of the Asean summits.
The White House had said that Obama would not “pull any punches” in raising human rights issues when he meets Duterte in Laos.
While Duterte expressed openness to talk about the matter, he had said Obama should first understand the problems confronting the Philippines.
Duterte also said that Obama should not wash hands for the crimes the US had done in the past, citing the killings of 600 Moro insurgents in the Philippines by American soldiers.
He then said that he would only respond to Obama’s question if the latter is able to apologize over the deaths of the Moro people.
“As a matter of fact, at the turn of a century, before the Americans left the Philippines in the pacification campaign of the Moro in this island, there were about six million Moro population. How many died? Six-hundred,” the President said.
The President took a swipe at Filipino columnists, who kept on questioning his drug war and seemed to be “Obama’s lapdogs.”
Duterte said that if the columnists could not stand his way of suppressing drugs in the country, they better leave the country and go to America.
“Many of these columnists, they look up on Obama and the United States as if they are the lapdogs of this country… These columnists are trying to threaten me... You better go out of the Philippines; go to America. You write [against me because] you are the lapdogs of this American," he said. (Sunnex)