Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte an anti-establishment crusader and a ruthless fighter for the war on drugs, is known for his brash and populist style. Learn about the Philippine President’s rise to the highest office and his robust policy agenda.
In world politics, there are fewer leaders as outspoken and foul-mouthed as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
Over the years, the strongman has been known to throw a number of tirades, with seemingly no person – or subject – off limits.
Here are five of his most shocking quotes:
“Hitler massacred three million Jews… there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Since taking office in mid-2016, Duterte has led a crackdown on drugs in the Asian island country. As a result, more than 6,300 mostly petty drug suspects have been killed after allegedly resisting arrests and about 1.3 million others have surrendered, officials said in November last year.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has received widespread criticism for some of the things he has said over the past few years.
(AP/Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division)
But Duterte drew ire during the first few months into his term by comparing the campaign to Hitler and the Holocaust.
In that speech, Duterte said without elaborating that he has been “portrayed or pictured to be a cousin of Hitler” by his critics. Moments later, he said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews… there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Duterte later visited a synagogue in the capital of Manila to personally apologize to Philippines’ Jewish community, calling the remarks “terribly wrong.”
“I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a w—-, go home. Do not visit us again.’”
Whenever Pope Francis travels, a massive audience follows.
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines gets interrupted by a cockroach during a rally and jokes about it being a ‘liberal.’
When Francis visited the Philippines in 2015, an estimated six million people packed Manila’s streets to hear him speak. The buildup caused gridlock traffic — and then-candidate Duterte apparently got stuck in it.
“We were affected by the traffic. It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a w—-, go home. Do not visit us again’,” the Philippines leader said during his election campaign, according to the BBC.
He later sent the pope an apology letter.
“Give me salt and vinegar and I’ll eat his liver.”
Duterte made this bizarre remark in 2017 after ordering troops to kill fleeing Islamic militants behind a foiled attack in the central resort province of Bohol.
During a speech in which he warned he could be “50 times” more brutal than militants who stage beheadings, he took his rhetoric one step further.
He said if a terrorist was presented to him when he’s in a foul mood, “give me salt and vinegar and I’ll eat his liver.”
Duterte gestures while speaking during a news conference at the presidential palace in Manila in 2017.
“Instead of helping us, the first to criticize is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr. Obama, you can go to hell”
Duterte said this in late 2016, following criticism from the U.S. over his deadly anti-drug campaign.
In a speech attended by officials and business executives, Duterte outlined his disappointments with the U.S., which has asked his government to stop the widespread killings and has questioned whether human rights are being violated.
“Instead of helping us, the first to criticize is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” Duterte said.
“And if you hang me for all I did, go ahead. It will be my pleasure.”
Duterte had some choice words for the International Criminal Court in December 2019, saying he would refuse to cooperate if put on trial at The Hague over this anti-drug crackdown.
“I will never, never, never answer any question coming from you. It’s b——t to me. I am only responsible to the Filipino. Filipinos will judge,” he said, according to Reuters.
“And if you hang me for all that I did, go ahead. It will be my pleasure,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.