Duterte to tell Trump, APEC leaders to ‘lay off’ from human rights issue

Image from Presidential Communications Office
  • President Rodrigo Duterte said he will tell leaders to ‘lay off’ from the Philippines’ human rights issue
  • He said the Philippines is a ‘sovereign state’ not ‘beholden’ to anyone
  • Duterte is attending the APEC meeting in Vietnam

“The Philippines is a sovereign state.”

President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will stress this to world leaders, including United States President Donald Trump, who might bring up the issue of human rights during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

Duterte made this remark on Wednesday before flying to Vietnam City where the world leaders would gather for an APEC meeting.

“I will not go there as a subservient lackey of anyone including what you would like to hear from me but which you cannot ask maybe or later on about human rights,” GMA News online quoted Duterte.

“You want to ask a question? I’ll give you an answer. Lay off. That’s not your business. That is my business,” he also said.

The Philippine president said he is open to remarks from his foreign counterparts only if it beneficial for the country.

“I will not allow anybody to impose anything on my country. I will listen to you. But if it is not to the best of interest for my country, I will ignore you,” he said.

Duterte’s remarks came despite the notion that he and Trump are seeing eye-to-eye with his policy against drugs.

This is a huge contrast with Duterte’s relationship with former US President Barack Obama who openly criticized his bloody anti-drugs campaign.

Duterte has since issued strong statements – some with brash expletives – against Obama and other international bodies that criticized his drug war. These includes the European Union and the United Nations.