Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has fired back at US senators who criticized abuses during his ‘war on drugs.’ While the US lawmakers opposed any possible trip by Duterte to America, the leader said he had no intention of visiting the “lousy” country.
“There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter,” Duterte said on Friday, as quoted by Reuters.
The Philippine leader was also surprised that the senators would think he was willing to go to the US.
“I've seen America and it's lousy,” Duterte said.
The statement came in response to Thursday’s hearings at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the US Congress, where senators accused Duterte’s domestic anti-drug campaign of widespread abuses and casualties.
The co-chair of the commission, Jim McGovern, opposed a visit by President Duterte to the US, saying that he would protest such a move due to multiple violations of human rights by the leader.
Hitting back at the accusations, Duterte advised Washington to look at its own “sins” and threatened to investigate them, referring to civilian casualties during wars in the Middle East.
“It would be good for the US Congress to start with their own investigation of their own violations of the so many civilians killed in the prosecution of the wars in the Middle East,” Duterte stated.
“Otherwise I will be forced to investigate you also. I will start with your past sins.”
The possibility of a Duterte visit stems from an April phone conversation between the Philippine leader and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, when Trump invited him to the White House “to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance.”
Back then, Trump also congratulated Duterte for his “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”
The Philippines’ strongman said that nothing can stop his drug crackdown, including a trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or impeachment. The anti-drug campaign had resulted in more than 7,000 deaths as of March 2017, according to Human Rights Watch.