00:21 GMT28 November 2020
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    The popular Philippines' president is known for his rash off- the-cuff remarks, which have earned him the reputation of a controversial statesman both at home and internationally.

    Lawmakers in the Philippines have lashed out at Rodrigo Duterte over his recent remarks against Commission on Audit (COA) employees after the president accused the institution of hampering the work of government agencies.

    "Damn that COA. Every time, it has something wrong with it. What's with this COA? Let's just kidnap COA [officials], put them here, and torture them. Son of a b****," Duterte said in a speech in Pasay City on Tuesday.

    According to the president, all the agency does is "make things difficult. That's what I don't want – making things difficult."

    The president caught flak for his comments on Wednesday, with Akbayan Party MP Tom Villarin saying "the joke will be on all of us Filipinos if we don't call him out on this as well as his misogyny and attacks against democratic institutions."

    For his part, Bayan Muna lawmaker and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares accused Duterte of "acting like a dictator" and warned that his comments could expose COA employees to harm.

    The Commission on Audit is a constitutionally protected institution established in 1987, and is charged with auditing government expenditures at all levels. Duterte's remarks this week were just the latest expression of hostile sentiment against the agency. Last year, the president suggested that its employees should be "pushed down the stairs," and lambasted its circulars as "s***" which should be ignored by local government officials.

    Elected on a promise to end drug-related crimes in his country in 2016, President Duterte has become best known for his popular but controversial anti-drug war, which has led to the extrajudicial killing of thousands of suspected drug dealers in police anti-drug raids. Duterte has also been embroiled in a series of verbal conflicts with the Catholic Church, the International Criminal Court, and former US President Barack Obama, and is well known for making rude comments and using expletives.


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