Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said it was a “personal and official insult” when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked to him on Tuesday about human rights and extrajudicial killings in the country.
Trudeau was apparently one of the only leaders at a regional summit in Manila to bring up the issue, expressing his concern over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines in talks with Duterte.
While Trudeau said Duterte was “receptive” to his comments, the Philippine leader reiterated his warning to foreign leaders to “lay off” the issue.
“I will not answer to any other bullshit, especially to foreigners,’’ he said.
Duterte has been widely criticised for a spate of killings related to his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has left thousands dead.
Trudeau told a news conference before leaving Manila that he brought up the issue when he got a chance to talk with Duterte on the sidelines of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
“I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law and specifically extrajudicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with,’’ he said.
Trudeau said that he “impressed upon Duterte the need for respect of rule of law and as always offered Canada’s support and help as a friend to help move forward on what is a real challenge.”
“The president was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange,’’ he said.
However, Duterte had a different account, emphasising that he was only accountable to Filipinos who elected him as president.
Trudeau said he would not explain, saying it is a personal and official insult to him.
“That is why you hear me throwing down epithets, curses, bullshit and everything because it angers me.
“When you are a foreigner, you do not know exactly what is happening in this country,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who was urged to also raise the issue of extrajudicial killings, appeared to have skirted the topic in his meeting with Duterte on Monday.
A joint statement said only that the two leaders “underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential.”
Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque said human right was not discussed in the meeting between Duterte and Trump.
“There was no mention of human rights. There was no mention of extrajudicial killings.”
Human right is a topic often avoided in meetings by ASEAN, which has followed the principle of non-interference in members’ domestic affairs.
However, Trudeau said human rights should be openly discussed by all countries.
“It has to be done in an honest and frank way. We have to talk about the high expectation we must have to protect life, to uphold the rule of law and human rights,’’ he noted.