A combative Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte blasted critics of his anti-drugs war on Thursday and demanded that European Union envoys leave the country within 24 hours.
He lashed out at the E.U. during a speech a month before the Philippines was to host a summit of Southeast Asian leaders and their European Union and U.S. counterparts. The Europe-based International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance visited Manila recently and called on his government to end its drug war immediately or risk losing preferential trade rights.
“You think we’re a bunch of morons here,” Duterte said in his speech at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila. “The ambassadors of those countries listening now, tell me. Because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All. All of you.”
It was unclear what he meant, and a spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said officials were unaware of the ultimatum, adding the department received no specific instruction from the presidential palace.
As president, Duterte said, he was empowered to dictate foreign policy and cut ties with any country.
“The conduct of external affairs of this country is not in Congress. It’s not in the Supreme Court. It is the presidency in the great separation of powers,” the president said. “It is solely the privilege of the executive department.”
Reacting to Duterte’s threat, the E.U. delegation in the Philippines said it continued to work closely with Manila “in many contexts and areas, including, of course in the U.N. context.”
Full story: BenarNews
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