Duterte vs Barack Obama In A Remark About Filipino Sovereignty

By Tunde Olupitan

Latest news on the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is of his calling USA President Barack Obama a son of a b***h. We can expect that Duterte’s comment against Obama, is only the opening shot in what promises to be a long running battle between the Philippines and Washington and its imperialist ambitions.

Duterte curses Obama in a remark about Filipino sovereignty telling Obama and the USA – “mind your own business”.

Latest Duterte news sees Duterte calling Obama a son of a b***h. An unstateman-like comment no doubt, but a comment which is a reminder of the frustration and indignation of leaders in emerging nations who often feel that after years of independence, they are accorded limited sovereignty over their own affairs and like vassal states are called upon to account to past colonial masters on matters relating to their internal policies. These are often colonial masters who have not been held to account for past and current misdeeds.

I Answer To No One

A few days ago at a press conference in Manila, President Duterte on his way to the ASEAN Summit in Laos stopped to brief the press and to take questions. A reporter from Reuters asked him about how he would address the issue of extra judicial killings in the Philippines in front of other foreign leaders.

The Philippines, he reiterated, is an independent nation, it is not answerable to any other country except to its people.

“To whom shall I address myself? And who will be asking this question, may I know?”, asked Duterte. The response came back “President Obama”. And this apparently set Duterte off, and here is part of his answer:

“…the Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States. … We look upon Obama and the United States as if we are the lap dogs of that country. I do not respond to anybody but to the people of the Republic of the Philippines…who is he? When as a matter of fact, at the turn of the century, before the Americans left the Philippines in the pacification campaign of the Moro in this island, there were about 6 million population of the Moro. How many died?1 If you can answer that question and give the apology, I will answer him. I am not beholden to anybody…who is he? I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody. You [Obama] must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. P****g ina,’ I will swear at you in that [ASEAN] forum. …who is he to confront me? As a matter of fact…America has one too many to answer for the misdeeds in this country. … Look at the human rights of America along that line2, the way they treat the migrants…”

Duterte’s cursing of Barack Obama was reported widely, the whole world was fixated on the swear words, but the context went unreported and the transcript above shows that Duterte’s anger was triggered by the question that he would be expected to answer to Barack Obama for matters which he considered to be matters entirely within the internal affairs of the Philippines. The Philippines, he reiterated, is an independent nation, it is not answerable to any other country except to its people.

Duterte’s Entente with the Communist Party of the Philippines

While no one could condone extra judicial killings (2400 alleged drug dealers/addicts killed in the last 2 months), Duterte’s indignation and irritation is consistent with his anti imperialist stance against the USA. Since coming to power, Duterte has welcomed the Philippine Communist Party to the government, three members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) are cabinet members in Duterte’s government. His election was supported and welcomed by the NDF. In an article on their website on 15 May 2016, titled Prospects under a Duterte Presidency”, NDF noted:

“With Duterte set to become GRP president, for the first time, the Philippine client-state is to be headed by one who is not completely beholden to the US imperialists.”

Duterte has been in peace talks with the Communist Party and has been seeking the return of Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of Philippines who has been exiled in the Netherlands since 1987.

Can the Filipino Voters be Trusted to Decide for Themselves?

Not surprisingly, the NDF applauded Duterte for cursing Obama and the US out. On its website it said:

“The National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao commends GPH Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte for his unprecedented statements against US imperialist intervention in the Philippines. No other Philippine president has ever publicly censured and taken US imperialism to task for its atrocious crimes against sovereign nations and peoples of the world.”

It will be interesting to see how a newly elected president in Washington deals with the increasing rapprochement between Duterte and The Communist Party of the Philippines given American’s well known obsession with all things communist. Will it intervene? Are these matters too important for the Filipino voters to be left to decide for themselves?*

We can expect that Duterte’s comment against Obama, is only the opening shot in what promises to be a long running battle with Washington, with the Philippines now developing closer ties with China, the stage is set for confrontation between any imperialist ambitions of any p****g ina on the one side and Duterte in the Philippines.

You can watch the video in which Duterte swore at Obama when you go online to this excerpt.

*Kissinger was once quoted as saying:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” 

A version of this article was first published on peelfirst.com.

Featured image courtesy of: http://mmc-news.com

About the Author

Tunde Olupitan is the Managing Editor Europe & Americas for The European Financial Review, The European Business Review and The European Law Review.

Rodrigo Duterte: “How many died? Six hundred. … Can he explain the 600,000 Moro massacred in this island?” Monday, September 5, 2016. Transcript lifted from http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/09/06/duterte-departure-for-asean-summit-speech.html
2. Referring to the Mexico border.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.