Friday, September 21, 2018

The Philippine president said he has asked his finance secretary to reject an unspecified British financial aid package and that he’s ready to cut diplomatic ties with all European countries critical of his deadly anti-drug crackdown.

President Rodrigo Duterte also threatened in a state TV talk show late Friday “to declare a revolutionary government until the end of my term” to allow him to arrest opponents and launch an all-out war against communist guerrillas if they seriously attempt to destabilize his government.

Duterte’s latest outburst against critics came after an independent poll made public this past week showed that his public satisfaction rating has dropped to its lowest level — although it remains classified as “good” — since he took office last year amid an outcry over unabated drug killings and allegations that he has unexplained wealth.

Amid renewed criticisms of his anti-drug campaign, which has left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead, Duterte has barred the national police for the second time from enforcing his crackdown and designated a small antinarcotics agency to spearhead his controversial crackdown.

The volatile leader has also been incensed by concerns over the drug killings raised by a small group of European parliamentarians and human rights advocates.

“I am prepared to lose all diplomatic relationships with all of the European countries now. … You’re not allowed to enter here now. I will write that letter,” Duterte said, adding that the Philippines could drop European imports.

Duterte said his country could survive “as long as I have China, Russia and Eastern Europe,” along with a bloc of Southeast Asian nations that he currently heads.

He said that Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III recently informed him of a financial package Britain wanted to provide, but that he told Dominguez to reject the offer. “Tell them Duterte may use that to buy guns and ammunition to carry out extrajudicial killings, so keep your money,” Duterte said he told his finance chief.

The 72-year-old president, known for his bombastic speeches, also warned that he would declare “a revolutionary government” to contain any serious threat by political opponents and communist rebels to undermine his administration. “I will arrest all of you and we can go to a full-scale war against the Reds,” Duterte said. “I’m prepared, that’s why I’ve gotten more soldiers. … Why did I ask for new arms?”

Duterte has denied he has a policy condoning unlawful drug killings. Following public outrage over the shooting death of a teenage student in August, he has warned police officers that they would be locked up in jail if they murder drug suspects.

The president, however, has continued to threaten drug and crime suspects with death and mock human rights advocates. “The human rights of the criminals end where the survival of my country begins. Simple as that,” Duterte said.

Associated Press