Deterring Democracy Everywhere. From [HRW], [TheIntercept] and [NYTimes] U.S. President Donald Trump met Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for the first time at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam on Saturday.
The meeting was "short but was warm and cordial," Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, told reporters.
"The leaders were generally pleased to finally meet each other in person," he said.
Trump told Duterte "see you tomorrow," Roque said.
Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out a “war on drugs” resulting in the deaths of over 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users by January 2017. The government has attributed nearly half the killings to the Philippine National Police, and the remainder to “unidentified gunmen.” Cases investigated by the media and rights groups invariably found unlawful executions by police or agents of the police typically acting as “death squads.” Duterte has been outspoken in support of the anti-drug campaign and has sought to silence its critics, notably Senator Leila de Lima. No meaningful investigation into the killings has been undertaken. [MORE]
Trump, who has been criticized at home for neglecting rights issues in dealings abroad, in May praised Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem". Read the Full Transcript of Trump's Call With Duterte [HERE] The White House readout describes the call as a “very friendly conversation.”
According to the NY Times, "human rights, rule of law and due process were among topics Trump and Duterte would likely discuss during their bilateral talks, Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to Manila, had said last month." k.
Acording to the Intercept, Duterte, whose bloody war on drugs has led to the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos, boasted on Thursday that he is no more concerned with killing now than he was at the age of 16, when he said he stabbed a man to death just because he looked at him the wrong way.
Duterte, who is preparing to make President Donald Trump feel at home in Manila this weekend, made the remarks in an address to Filipinos living in Vietnam, where he was attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
According to the Filipino news site Rappler, Duterte’s boast was made to illustrate that he had no fear of going to jail for overseeing his government’s rampage against suspected drug dealers and users, which has been widely criticized by human rights groups.
“When I was a teenager, I would go in and out of jail,” Duterte said in remarks posted on YouTube by his office. “I’d have rumbles here, rumbles there.”
“At the age of 16, I killed somebody,” he said. “I stabbed him. Only because our eyes met.”
“How much more,” Duterte asked rhetorically of his willingness to kill, “now that I am president?”
“You fuck with my countrymen, I won’t let you off the hook,” he added, mixing English and Tagalog. “Never mind about the human rights advocates.”
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had canceled a scheduled meeting with Duterte last year after the Philippine president was asked how he might deal with criticism of his killing spree from the American president and responded with a profanity-laced tirade, in which he promised to call Obama a “son of a whore” to his face.
Speaking to reporters before he left Washington last week, Trump badly distorted that recent history, mistakenly claiming that his predecessor was “not exactly welcome” in the Philippines.
As The Philippine Star reported, Duterte renewed his complaints about Trump’s predecessor in his remarks on Thursday, calling Obama “so black and arrogant.”
Duterte has good reason to expect that Trump will not make his bloody rule an issue during the visit. In April, a leaked transcript showed that Trump called Duterte to congratulate him on doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem,” as my colleagues Jeremy Scahill, Alex Emmons, and Ryan Grim have reported.
Duterte’s spokesperson later claimed that the president’s boast about his murderous youth, which was met with peals of laughter from his supporters, might have been some sort of joke.
That repeats a familiar pattern, since Duterte has frequently made crude boasts about inflicting violence on his enemies or suspected criminals, delighting his hardcore fans, only for his spokespeople to later claim the remarks were in jest.
Duterte and Trump, who has adopted a similar strategy to excuse outrageous remarks spoken in earnest as jokes after the fact, could perhaps compare notes in Manila this weekend. During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump famously boasted that his supporters were so loyal that, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose not lose any voters.” [b/c the non-white votes are purged & uncounted by President Trash's GOP]