“My wish, well, that this government will prosper and that we don't get involved in the – it's a very topsy[-turvy] world so even the Chinese are kind of [inaudible]…. My wish is that we will just continue to progress, we won't be part of that mess with other countries”, the Philippine president said, as quoted by Indonesia’s Rappler, as he approached the round cake while his Davao City staff sang “Happy birthday to you, may the Lord God bless you!” on 27 March.
To mark the occasion, Sputnik has compiled a list of the most notorious verbal escapades of the sharp-tongued head of state, who has earned a reputation for using vulgar language against critics ever since his election in mid-2016. Although his aides have tried on multiple occasions to play down the president’s eccentricity and explain it away, it seems to be of little help, as Duterte continues to rail at critics of his overwhelming campaign to rid the Philippines of narcotics, which police say has killed at least 4,410 alleged drug dealers and users.
So, who or what has Duterte, so far, targeted in his strong-worded expletives?
'Obama Son of W****'
• Over two years ago, Duterte cursed then President Barack Obama ahead of a regional summit in Laos by calling him a “son of a whore”, thereby prompting the US to cancel a meeting between the two leaders there. He later branded in the same way Pope Francis and the-then US ambassador to Manila, as well as fired expletives at the United Nations. During one of his speeches back home, he was captured on camera raising his middle finger in defiance to the European Parliament, with the snap making rounds on the Internet and making headlines in international media.
'Ooooh Pretty Woman'
• Duterte fuelled a new barrage of criticism among rights groups and the general public ahead of his visit to Israel in 2018, as he blamed the high number of rapes in his home town of Davao on the large number of attractive women there.
“They say there are many rape cases in Davao”, Duterte said in a speech. “For as long as there are many beautiful women, there will be many rape cases, too”.
Around the same time, the Filipino president ordered to shoot female rebels in "their vagina" to render them "useless," prompting an avalanche of harsh criticism among human rights organizations, feminist movements and social media users.
• Jesus, Christian saints, and Christianity at large have also been a subject of Duterte’s many rants, with the president calling the central Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity “silly” and Christ’s crucifixion “unimpressive”:
“Your God was nailed on the cross. F***, how unimpressive. I’m God and you will crucify me? Motherf***er. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers’”, the politician thundered during the 2018 Christmas week.
• Referring to the church as a social institution, he lambasted his country's Catholic bishops as “useless fools”, allegedly calling on his people to “kill them”. The eccentric leader of the Catholic-majority nation also called out the Catholic Church as “the most hypocritical institution”.
In a no less covered case, Duterte referred to God as “stupid” and a “son of a b**ch”, suggesting that if there’s “one single witness” who can prove God’s existence by showing him a selfie together, he’d immediately step down from his top position.
• Duterte, who is on record not only joking about rape and targeting the Vatican and Christian believers in his numerous escapades, also reportedly boasted about his adulteries and an abuse case dating back to his high school years. Several media outlets, including SCMP, reported in late 2018 about his confession to a priest that he had illegally fondled a family maid as she lay sleeping under a blanket, and by doing so woke her up. The reported admission instantly sent the nation into shock, with multiple voices calling for him to resign.
• The Manila strongman, widely-known for his unambiguously negative attitude towards drugs, once baffled the international audience with yet another shocking statement, as he claimed to have smoked marijuana during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore in November 2018. Duterte said he resorted to it so as to not fall asleep during the tight-scheduled daylong event.
How About 'Death Squads'?
• Duterte has also more than once demonstrated a rather casual attitude to the words “kill” and “death”. For instance, when slamming the ongoing guerrilla war being waged by the Maoist New People's Army (NPA), an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), he suggested setting up his own “death squads” to eradicate the group’s hitmen.
In a no less notorious incident, Duterte addressed a Philippine senator’s accusations against Duterte’s son Paolo of being involved in drug smuggling, and suggested that they “shoot each other as they meet in Congress”.