More articles by

Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl
Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl


Watch your words, Mr President


The dictionary defines diplomacy as the skill or tact in dealing with people—with special emphasis on managing international relations, if we may add. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte seems to have stumbled upon the definition a bit late, it seems. Having called his American counterpart Barack Obama a “son of a b---h” at a press gathering, he later expressed regret that "it came across as a personal attack on the US President".

The Philippines President had come down heavily on drug dealers in the country, which has, reportedly, led to the killing of more than 2,000 suspected peddlers, including extrajudicial killings. The US had raised concerns over human rights violation. When asked about chances of Obama raising the issue again during their meeting, Duterte remarked that the US President should look at his own country's record of extrajudicial killings, and dropped the abusive bombshell. It led to the cancellation of the meeting between them.

Duterte had, last month, abused the US ambassador to his country, Philip Goldberg, calling him “gay son of a b---h”.

For those not familiar with Duterte's 'foul-mouthed exploits' in the past, here's a look at five such instances:

The United Nations came under fire from Duterte after the world body repeatedly criticised the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers in the country. He termed UN human rights experts “stupid” and even threatened to quit the UN. He slammed the world body for failing to stop killings in the Middle East and Africa. He also refused to meet United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon.

Duterte called Pope Francis “son of a b---h” and told him not to visit his country anymore. Reason? He was caught in a traffic jam caused by the Pope's visit. Though he said later that he did not intend to attack the Pope personally and was only criticising the government's failure to handle the situation, he refused to apologise.

In April this year, he mocked a rape victim, Jacqueline Hamill, who was working in a prison in Davao when she was raped and killed during a riot by inmates in 1989. Duterte was the city’s mayor then. He said: “...What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste." His comments were criticised worldwide but it didn't dent his popularity much in the country.

Commenting on an international court verdict that ruled in favour of the Philippines in the South China sea territorial row with China, Duterte remarked that he will go there on a jet ski, plant the flag of the Philippines and challenge the Chinese authorities to kill him.

When asked about allegations of being a womaniser, he responded as only he can: “I was separated from my wife. I am not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever? When I take Viagra, it stands up.”

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