Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Phillipines, says that in a phone call Donald Trump endorsed his death squads that have received international condemnation.
The New York Times reports that Duterte was “quite sensitive” to “our worry about drugs” and “wishes me well, too, in my campaign, and he said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way.”
The “way” that Duterte has chosen to confront the problem of drugs in the Phillipines is through the use of death squads who have conducted a campaign of killing on a huge scale.
VIDEO: Duterte discusses Trump endorsing his death squads
In the first three months of Duterte’s time as president, police in that nation have attributed over 3,000 killings to his anti-drug campaign, mostly to vigilante groups. A police officer also told the Guardian newspaper that 10 police death squads have been operating and were personally responsible for the deaths of 87 suspects.
Amnesty International reported in October, “Almost 100 days after Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines, a wave of unlawful killings has already claimed more than 3,000 lives, shattering progress on human rights in the country.”
Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said, “Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days as president have been marked by state-sanctioned violence on a truly shocking scale.”
The Times notes, “The program has been condemned by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and others for what rights organizations have characterized as extrajudicial killings.”
In response to criticism from the United Nations, Duterte called President Obama a “son of a whore.”
Discussing his phone call with Trump, Duterte said, “He understood the way we are handling it, and I said that there’s nothing wrong in protecting a country. It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country.”
Duterte said that Trump has also invited him to visit with him in New York City and in Washington, D.C., presumably as a guest at the White House.
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