MANILA – Philippine Senator Alan Peter Cayetano made a last bid in an appeal for US President Barack Obama to give Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte a chance after saying some “politically incorrect words,” but failed.
Despite Cayetano’s open letter to Obama where the former defends the tough-talking Philippine president, the White House has gone on to cancel the meeting between Obama and Duterte after the latter called US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”
Today, Obama will instead meet with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea.
Promising to curse him at the forum in the ASEAN summit in Laos, Duterte has said that he is “not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people,” and that he will not take Obama’s criticism of how he runs the war on drugs in the Philippines. To date, more than 2,000 fatalities have been recorded in the fight against drugs, and many of them allegedly involving extrajudicial killings.
Last week, Obama hinted that he had wanted to discuss human rights issues and regional security with Duterte during the 49th ASEAN Leader’s Summit presently being held at Vientiane, the Laos capital.
In his letter, Cayetano was quoted as saying: “Does he (Duterte) not deserve to be judged on his record and his actions? On facts and not manipulated by statistics? On where he wants to bring the country rather than his sometimes politically incorrect words?”
Cayetano has gone on to claim in this letter that the human rights situation in the Philippines is a “misinformation campaign” and that Duterte’s behavior has been “aggravated” by this campaign, causing some sectors to “misjudge” him.
Many Filipinos voiced out their disenchantment with the way Duterte has handled relations with the US, a long-time Philippine ally and have taken their sentiments to social media.
Celebrity artist and tour guide Carlos Celdran, political blogger Miyako Izabel, and award winning writer Ninotchka Rosca were among those who voiced their disappointment.
On Ninotchka Rosca’s page, netizens voice their embarrassment and predict Duterte’s persona-non-grata future status on US soil.
Interestingly enough, Duterte’s tough talking stance aimed at the US president received the most positive reviews and support from western netizens. However, some British and US commenters of the Daily Mail pointed out that the US should cut off support towards the Philippines to teach the Philippine head of state a lesson.
Duterte has made international headlines in the past for aiming his acid tongue at political and cultural personalities. Obama is the latest addition in the long line of distinguished personalities that the Philippine president has cussed so far, including the Pope, the UN secretary general, the US Ambassador to the Philippines and his political opponents.