Duterte to Obama: Don't question drug killings

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his pre-departure message before leaving for the 28th Asean Summit in Laos.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his pre-departure message before leaving for the 28th Asean Summit in Laos. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA • President Rodrigo Duterte has cautioned US President Barack Obama against questioning the extrajudicial killings connected to the anti-crime push in the Philippines when they meet at the Asean summits beginning in Laos today.

"Nobody has the right to lecture me," he told a news conference yesterday shortly before he boarded a plane for Vientiane, Laos.

He insisted that the Philippines was no longer a "vassal state" of the US.

Referring to Mr Obama, he said: "Do not do it… We'll both just end up rolling in the mud… You must be respectful."

The two are scheduled to meet this afternoon on the sidelines of the Asean summits in Laos, though the meeting has now been thrown into doubt. Mr Obama told reporters yesterday he had asked his team to find out if "constructive, productive conversations" were possible.

More than 2,000 drug suspects have been killed either by police or vigilantes since Mr Duterte took office on June 30 and declared war on crime and drug lords.

Raul Dancel

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Duterte to Obama: Don't question drug killings'. Print Edition | Subscribe