Duterte says he won't visit 'lousy' US

MANILA • President Rodrigo Duterte, previously praised and invited by President Donald Trump to the White House, has said he will not visit the United States during or after his term because the country is "lousy".

Mr Duterte's remarks about one of the Philippines' oldest allies was in response to Representative James McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who recently said he would protest if the Filipino leader utilised Mr Trump's invitation.

"There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter. So what makes that guy think I'll go to America? I've seen America and it's lousy," Mr Duterte told reporters last Friday, after Mr McGovern's remarks.

Mr McGovern led a hearing in Congress the day before on Mr Duterte's drug war that has resulted in a mass killing of suspected addicts and dealers in the Philippines.

More than 7,000 deaths have been reported from July 1 last year to Jan 21, according to the Philippine National Police.

The deaths were carried out both by police and unknown vigilantes.

Human rights groups have strongly criticised the controversial Filipino leader's method in eradicating his country's drug problem, citing lack of due process and killings that targeted the poor.

Mr McGovern said someone with Mr Duterte's abysmal human rights record should not be invited to the US. Mr Duterte shot back, saying he, too, can - and will - investigate the US' history of human rights violation.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Duterte says he won't visit 'lousy' US'. Print Edition | Subscribe