Duterte twits US, Aussie envoys for ‘meddling’ in PH politics
KALIBO, Aklan, Philippines —“Shut up.”
That was the response of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night as he slammed the Australian and the United States ambassadors for criticizing him over his rape remarks.
“It would do well with the Australian and US ambassadors if they just shut up,” Duterte told thousands of crowd in a rally at the Pastrana Park here.
The tough-talking mayor made the statement after Australian ambassador Amanda Gorely issued a statement saying rape and murder should never be trivialized.
“Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere,” Gorely said.
US ambassador Philip Goldberg also made similar remarks.
“I can only agree with the colleague from the Australian Embassy. Any statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder, are not ones that we condone,” Goldberg said in a television interview.
But Duterte defended his statements and hit back at the two ambassadors.
“This is a democracy. Freedom of speech is a sacred right. Nobody can question my mouth. Huwag mo akong kontrolin. This is my freedom of expression,” he said, eliciting a wild approval from the crowd.
He slammed the two envoys for interfering into Philippine politics.
“Do not interfere because it’s election time,” Duterte said.
Asked if his remarks would affect ties with the two countries, he said “it’s their problem not mine.”
“I never interfere in their elections. If I become president, go ahead and sever it (our ties),” he said.
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