An inappropriate comment about President Obama made by the Philippines' president may have resulted in the canceling of a meeting between the two countries. Now Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has shown signs of remorse for his comments.
Before his planned trip to Laos to meet with President Obama and other Southeast Asian leaders during the ASEAN conference, Duterte, during a press conference, was asked how he might react if the U.S. president should question him over his severe anti-drug war.
"Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people," Duterte said to reporters.
When asked how he would explain the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines to Obama, Duterte then took his comments a step further.
“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte was quoted by the BBC. “We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me.”
Some media outlets have translated the message to “son of a b***h.”
After the comments reached the Obama administration, the president said that he asked his staff to assess whether or not the meeting would still be useful.
“Obviously the Filipino people are some of our closest friends and allies and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours. But I always want to make sure that if I’m having a meeting, that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done,” Obama said during a news conference.
Hours after the conference, the White House announced the meeting between Obama and Duterte would be canceled and Obama would instead meet with South Korean president Park Geun-hye.
After the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Obama was called off, Duterte released a statement in which he expressed feelings of remorse for making the statements.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Duterte said his statements “came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president. We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions."
The statement also claimed that the “son of a whore” or “son of a b***h” comment was directed at the journalist who elicited the passionate response from Duterte.
Citizens of the Philippines are used to the intense language used by the president, whose war on drugs has resulted in the death of about 2,400 people. Since taking office in June, Duterte has made many radical statements on behalf of his country. He has even threatened to leave the United Nations after UN representatives condemned his national order for people to kill suspected drug traffickers.
(Photos from left: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images, Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)