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President Donald Trump has revealed he has a “great relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after a highly anticipated meeting in the country’s capital Manila.

It was unclear whether President Trump raised human rights violations in the Philippines, despite calls for him to do so.

Barack Obama’s administration had spoken out against Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed almost 4,000 people.

President Trump is almost at the end of an extensive Asia tour.

The first meeting between Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, which took place at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, was closely watched as both are known for striking a controversially outspoken and direct tone.

After the private meeting, President Trump did not respond to questions about whether he had raised the subject of human rights while a spokesman for President Duterte said the topic had not been discussed.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said the topic was mentioned briefly in their private meeting, in the context of the war on drugs, but did not give further details.

Image source Getty Images

Rodrigo Duterte Admits Personally Killing Criminal Suspects as Davao Mayor

Rodrigo Duterte Would Stop Cursing After God Told Him So

Rodrigo Duterte Compares His Anti-Drug Campaign to Holocaust

On November 10, President Duterte said he stabbed a person to death when he was a teenager. His spokesman later said the remark had been “in jest”.

Since coming into office in 2016, Rodrigo Duterte has presided over a massive crackdown on crime in the Philippines, which critics allege undermines fundamental human rights.

The Filipino president has encouraged extrajudicial killings of those involved in the drug trade, and said he would “be happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts in the country.


Police say they have killed almost 4,000 people in anti-drug operations since 2016. More than 2,000 others have been killed in connection with drug-related crimes.

President Trump has previously praised Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, reportedly telling him: “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing.”

A Philippine government transcript of the April 29 phone call was later leaked to US media.

President Trump and other leaders attending the ASEAN event had already met on Sunday evening at a gala in Manila ahead of the summit.

During the evening, Rodrigo Duterte took to the stage to sing a Filipino hit love song, afterwards saying it had been “on the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States”.

Demonstrators took to the streets in Manila on November 12 and 13, protesting against Donald Trump’s visit and carrying banners like “Trump Go Home” and “Ban Trump #1 terrorist”.

Riot police used water cannon and sonic alarms to repel the protesters.

Donald Trump’s visit to the Philippines wraps up the president’s five-country trip to Asia which also had him visit Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam.

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Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has revealed he personally killed criminal suspects as mayor of Davao.

It is the first such admission Rodrigo Duterte has made since becoming president in June, but echoes comments he made in 2015.

Rodrigo Duterte ran Davao for two decades, earning a reputation for cutting crime, and criticism for allegedly supporting death squads.

He was speaking to business leaders at the presidential palace on December 12, before an overseas trip.

It is the latest in a series of controversial comments by Filipino president.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte said during the meeting: “In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can’t you.

“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”

In 2015, he admitted killing at least three men suspected of kidnapping and rape in Davao.

Rodrigo Duterte’s comments have been condemned by human rights group Amnesty International, which has called on him to put an immediate end to the killings.

Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International director for South East Asia and the Pacific said: “The climate of impunity in the Philippines has intensified even further since President Duterte began his brutal crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers in July, with a wave of unlawful killings claiming more than 5,000 lives across the country.

“By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account.”

Just hours before Rodrigo Duterte’s latest remarks, he insisted “I am not a killer”, in a speech for The Outstanding Filipino Awards 2016. He has also previously both acknowledged and denied being involved with death squads.

In September a Senate inquiry heard testimony from a self-confessed former death squad member that Rodrigo Duterte had, while serving as Davao mayor, shot dead a justice department agent with an Uzi submachine gun.

Nearly 6,000 people are said to have been killed by police, vigilantes and mercenaries since Rodrigo Duterte launched his drug war after being elected in May.

Rodrigo Duterte has expressed few regrets about the policy, once saying: “Hitler massacred three million Jews… There’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Some human rights lawyers believe Rodrigo Duterte’s open support for a shoot-to-kill policy by the police could make him vulnerable to prosecution for crimes against humanity at the international court.

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Ferdinand Marcos, the late president of the Philippines, has been buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery in Manila.

The former dictator, who was ousted and forced into exile in 1986, died in the US in 1989.

Ferdinand Marcos had been embalmed and on display in his home city of Batac.

Despite public opposition, his burial follows a decision by the Supreme Court to allow him to be moved to the cemetery.

Image source Wikimedia

Image source Wikimedia

There have been protests against honoring a man blamed for thousands of killings, tortures and abductions.

Former presidents and artists of national significance are among those buried in the cemetery, although most are former soldiers.

In August, President Rodrigo Duterte gave permission for the burial, calling Ferdinand Marcos a “Filipino soldier”.

The court approved it earlier this month and the body was moved to the cemetery without announcement on November 18, surprising opponents of the burial.

The private ceremony was described as “very simple” and “just a family affair” by Police Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, who helped manage security for the event.

He said it was not a state funeral, although Ferdinand Marcos was given a 21-gun salute.

Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, ruled the Philippines for 20 years, a large part of it under martial law, before more than a million people took to the streets to overthrow them in what became known as the People Power Revolution.

As well as official brutality, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos are accused of widespread corruption and the theft of billions of dollars of state funds.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is known for his colorful language and his short fuse, said he would stop cursing after God told him so.

Arriving in his home city of Davao after a trip to Japan, Rodrigo Duterte said God gave him an ultimatum on the plane.

He said that late at night while everyone was snoring on a flight back to the Philippines, he had heard a voice that said if he didn’t stop swearing: “I will bring this plane down now.”Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

“I heard a voice telling me to stop swearing or the plane will crash in mid-air, and so I promised to stop,” Rodrigo Duterte told reporters at the airport.

His blunt speaking, often directed at the West, has contributed to his popularity at home.

All were responses to criticisms of his bloody war on drugs, that has seen thousands of alleged drug dealers and users killed by police and vigilante groups.

Rodrigo Duterte said he had promised God he would not “express slang, cuss words and everything”, and said a “promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people”.

However, he suggested his promise might have its limits. Whether he will stick to not swearing when talking about the US, EU or arch political foe Senator Leila de Lima, will depend on timing, local media quoted him as saying.

Like most Filipinos, Rodrigo Duterte is Roman Catholic, although he has boasted about his womanizing and called the Pope a “son of a whore” for causing traffic jams during his visit.

Rodrigo Duterte has spoken about being abused by an American priest as a child, saying that informed his political views.

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President Rodrigo Duterte has compared the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust, saying he would kill as many addicts as Hitler did Jews.

The Filipino president said: “Hitler massacred three million Jews… there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

At least six million Jews as well as other minorities are known to have been killed by the Nazis.

Rodrigo Duterte has overseen a bloody crackdown on drug users and dealers since taking office in June.

According to official figures, more than 3,000 people have been killed in police operations or by vigilantes.

The bodies of those killed are often left out in public, with signs listing the crimes they were accused of.

Rodrigo Duterte has openly said he would “kill 100,000 criminals” to reduce crime in the Philippines.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

He was speaking in Davao, the city where as mayor he implemented a tough anti-crime policy and was accused of sanctioning death squads to kill criminals.

Rodrigo Duterte told reporters he had been “portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler” as he lashed out critics who he said were accusing him of genocide.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews, now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said.

According to local news website Rappler, the most recent figures in the Philippines – released earlier in the week – suggests the number of drug users in the country is closer to 1.8 million, just 1.8% of the overall population.

Rodrigo Duterte’s rambling speech continued: “At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…” – at which point he is reported to have pointed to himself.

His comments were criticized as “outrageous” by Jewish groups, Reuters reports.

“Duterte owes the [Holocaust] victims an apology for his disgusting rhetoric,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The US-based Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League said the comments were “inappropriate and deeply offensive”.

“It is baffling why any leader would want to model himself after such a monster,” said communications director Todd Gutnick.

Rodrigo Duterte also used the speech to once again accuse the West of hypocrisy over their criticism of his brutal crackdown.

“You US, EU. You can call me anything. But I was never into… hypocrisy like you,” he said.

“There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you’re worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000?”

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Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte launched a fierce attack on the European Union after it condemned his brutal crackdown on crime.

Rodrigo Duterte said the EU parliament was acting out of guilt after it called on him to halt “the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings”.

The president said “hypocritical” former colonial powers like France and Britain were trying to atone for their own sins.

Since Rodrigo Duterte took office at the end of June about 3,000 people have been killed.

They have been killed either by police or vigilantes, after Rodrigo Duterte effectively sanctioned the murder of criminals and drugs dealers.

The killings have been widely condemned internationally.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

The European Parliament said it was concerned about the “extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations… in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign”, and asked Rodrigo Duterte to launch an “immediate” investigation.

Rodrigo Duterte, 71, hit back angrily, saying the European Parliament’s colonial-era ancestors killed “thousands” of Arabs and other peoples.

“They’re taking the high ground to assuage their feelings of guilt. But who did I kill?

“Assuming it to be true – 1,700, who are they? Criminals. You call that genocide,” he told officials in Davao.

“Now the EU has the gall to condemn me.”

The president also swore repeatedly during the outburst, and raised his middle finger in a gesture of defiance.

Rodrigo Duterte said on September 18 he needed to extend his crime war for another six months because the drug problem was worse than he expected, adding on September 20 that he would shield police and soldiers from prosecution.

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According to a former death squad member, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the murder of political opponents while mayor of Davao.

During a Senate hearing, Edgar Matobato revealed he and others killed about 1,000 people over a 25-year period.

Edgar Matobato, 57, gave gruesome details of gangland-style hits, including feeding one victim to a crocodile.

Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman rejected the allegations, saying investigations into his time as mayor had gone nowhere.Digong Duterte wins Philippines presidency

Edgar Matobato said he was a member of the Davao Death Squad, a notorious vigilante group allegedly responsible for hundreds of killings.

He said: “Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers.”

Edgar Matobato also claimed that Rodrigo Duterte’s opponents were targeted too, including four bodyguards of a local rival for mayor, Prospero Nograles.

Victims would be shot or strangled, he said, with some disemboweled and dumped into the sea so fish could eat them.

He told the Senate panel he went from a witness protection program into hiding when Rodrigo Duterte became president, fearing for his life.

Edgar Matobato also alleged Rodrigo Duterte ordered the bombing of a mosque in retaliation for an attack on Davao Cathedral in 1993.

On this claim Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman, Martin Andanar, said: “I don’t think he is capable of giving those orders.”

Martin Andanar said the country’s Commission on Human Rights had failed to even prove the existence of the Davao Death Squad.

Prospero Nograles’ son Karlo, a Davao city representative, denied Eduardo Matobato’s account relating to his father’s bodyguards.

“I don’t know what this guy is talking about.

“I can only suspect that this guy is being manipulated by some people to only serve their own selfish interests,” Karlo Nograles wrote on Facebook.

The woman leading the Senate inquiry into extra-judicial killings, Leila de Lima, is a strong critic of Rodrigo Duterte and has been accused by him of having links to the illegal drug trade, something she denies.

Rodrigo Duterte became mayor of Davao in 1988, and his tough stance saw crime rates plummet, an approach he has vowed to replicate at national level.

Since his election this year more than 3,000 drug users and dealers have been killed amid international alarm over human rights violations.

Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed concerns over his drugs policies, calling UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “a fool” and insulting President Barack Obama as, something he later said he regretted.

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President Barack Obama has called off a meeting with controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who had insulted him earlier.

Rodrigo Duterte was responding to Barack Obama’s promise to raise the issue of drug-related extra-judicial killings in the Philippines at their meeting.

The Filipino leader is known for his colorful language, though this time it has had a diplomatic impact, correspondents say.

Rodrigo Duterte has now said he regrets the remark.

A statement by his office said: “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret that it came across as a personal attack on the US president.”Rodrigo Duterte Barack Obama

Rodrigo Duterte and Barack Obama are among leaders gathering for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos.

Barack Obama, who flew to Laos after attending the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, had been set to raise concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines.

Speaking in Manila on September 5 before he left for Laos, Rodrigo Duterte bristled at the suggestion, saying it was “rude” and cursing the US president: “Putang ina (son of a whore) I will swear at you in that forum.”

Rodrigo Duterte added: “We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me.”

The Filipino leader then referred to the anti-drugs campaign that has led to the killing of 2,400 suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines since he took office in June: “The campaign against drugs will continue. Many will die, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets….until the [last] drug manufacturer is killed we will continue.”

Barack Obama initially appeared to play down the insult saying that he had asked his aides to work out if this is “a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations”.

His aides later canceled the talks.

Barack Obama’s last scheduled trip to Asia as president has not been without incident: he was also caught up in a protocol row with hosts China over his arrival in Hangzhou.

This is not the first time President Rodrigo Duterte has used such a language against prominent figures.

He has also insulted Pope Francis, the US ambassador to Philippines and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Correspondents say that such colorful talk plays well with the domestic audience, but it could cost Rodrigo Duterte on the international stage.

The UN has repeatedly condemned Rodrigo Duterte’s policies as a violation of human rights.

In August, two UN human rights experts said Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for police and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers amounted to “incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law”.

This round of ASEAN talks comes against the backdrop of tensions over China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea – the Philippines and the US are key players in that debate.

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According to the Filipino government, the Abu Sayyaf militant group was responsible for a bomb attack in Davao, the home city of newly-elected President Rodrigo Duterte.

At least 14 people were killed and other 60 wounded in the bomb attack at a market in the southern city of Davao, the government has said.

Rodrigo Duterte – who was in Davao at the time of the attack but was not near the market – has declared a “state of lawlessness” following the explosion.

This allows troops to be based in cities to assist the police.

National Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that Abu Sayyaf wanted to retaliate after suffering heavy casualties on its stronghold of Jolo island about 550 miles from Davao.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

“We have predicted this – and warned our troops accordingly,” Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

A presidential spokesman said investigators had found shrapnel from a mortar-based improvised explosive device (IED) at the scene.

The explosion took place in an area frequently visited by Rodrigo Duterte.

The president said the Philippines was going through “extraordinary times” which was why he had decided to allow the security forces to conduct searches previously done solely by the police.

In the aftermath of the explosion there were conflicting claims as to who may have carried it out.

Mindanao police director Manuel Gaerlan was reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as putting forward a theory that “disgruntled vendors” upset over the awarding of stalls in the market were responsible.

The government for their part initially said they were considering the possibility that drug syndicates were behind the blast before concluding that Abu Sayyaf were to blame.

A spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf was reported to have claimed responsibility soon after the attack.

However, the Inquirer quoted a senior Abu Sayyaf leader as saying it was in fact carried out by “an allied group”.

The region has been under a heightened security alert in recent weeks because of a military offensive against Abu Sayyaf.

Davao is the biggest city in the southern Philippines and has a population of about two million people. It is about 1,000 miles from the capital Manila.

A bomb attack in Davao, the home city of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, has killed at least 12 people.

At least 60 people more were wounded in the explosion at a packed market.

According to a presidential spokesman, investigators had found shrapnel from a mortar-based improvised explosive device (IED) at the scene.

Police in Manila are on high alert following the deadly blast.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

The explosion took place outside the Marco Polo hotel in an area frequently visited by Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Davao at the time but was not hurt.

Footages released show broken glass and plastic chairs scattered at the scene, which has since been cordoned off by police bomb experts and investigators.

Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, the president’s eldest son, issued a statement on Facebook in which he said it was too soon to determine who was behind the attack, but insisted that “authorities are on top of this incident”.

Regional police Chief Manuel Guerlan said a ring of checkpoints had been placed around the city’s exit points.

The region has been under a heightened security alert in recent weeks because of a military offensive against Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group.

On August 29, at least 12 soldiers from the Philippines were killed during heavy fighting with militants in what was the deadliest day for Philippine troops since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in May.

Rodrigo Duterte’s election has prompted a spike in drug-related killings, with more than 2,000 deaths since he took office on June 30, nearly half of them in police operations.

Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has won the Philippine presidential elections, following the withdrawal of his opponents.

Although the official result has not yet been declared, main rival Mar Roxas admitted defeat after polls gave Digong Duterte an unassailable lead.

The 71-year-old Maverick anti-crime candidate said he accepted the mandate with “extreme humility”.

Digong Duterte stirred controversy during campaigning with his incendiary comments.

He has credited his success to his tough stance on law and order.Digong Duterte wins Philippines presidency

Rodrigo Duterte’s record as the crime-crushing mayor of the southern town of Davao, once notorious for its lawlessness, earned him the moniker The Punisher and resonated with voters.

Other driving issues of the election campaign were pervasive corruption, as well as the poverty and inequality experienced by many Filipinos despite economic growth under outgoing President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

According to election officials, there was a record turnout at polling stations, with more than 81% of the 54 million registered voters casting a ballot. Senators and about 18,000 local officials including mayors are also being elected.

The PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) poll monitor said that with 90% of the presidential ballots counted, Digong Duterte had more than 14.8 million votes – about 39%. The PPCRV is accredited by the election commission to monitor counting but its reporting does not represent an official tally.

Mar Roxas, a former interior minister and Digong Duterte’s closest rival, had 8.6 million votes.

As the extent of his lead became clear, Digong Duterte told AFP news agency: “It’s with humility, extreme humility, that I accept this, the mandate of the people.”

Mar Roxas accepted his rival’s win, saying: “There are many tears in the room. Let me tell you this is not a time for tears. For our country, we have had a peaceful, successful transfer of power.”

Another key rival, Senator Grace Poe, was the first to concede defeat, promising to “co-operate with the healing process” after a turbulent campaign.

In the election to be vice-president, Leni Robredo, a social activist, is currently slightly ahead of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of a former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Benigno Aquino is standing down as the constitution limits presidents to one six-year term.

As Digong Duterte rose in opinion polls ahead of voting, Beningno Aquino had tried to unite other candidates against him, warning his election could mean a return to dictatorship for the Philippines.

Filipinos are voting for a new president and other leaders, with outspoken mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte the favorite to win.

Five candidates are running but Digong Duterte led polls ahead of voting, despite controversial comments while campaigning and a hard-line stance.

The campaign has been driven by public concerns about the economy, inequality and rampant corruption.

More than 100,000 police officers are on duty amid violence ahead of voting.

On May 9, seven people were shot dead in an ambush by unknown gunmen in the town of Rosario, in Cavite province, south of the capital, Manila.

The region had been considered an area of concern because of its political rivalries, said local media.

On May 8, a mayoral candidate was murdered in the south of the country.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is standing down as the constitution limits presidents to one six-year term. Filipinos will also pick a vice-president and local officials.

The election campaign has focused on reforming the economy, infrastructure, tackling corruption and crime and on the territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.Philippines elections 2016

Rodrigo Duterte has run a campaign focused on law and order issues, but made many controversial statements, including saying that he would butcher criminals.

A former state prosecutor nicknamed “The Punisher”, Rodrigo Duterte has been mayor of the southern city of Davao for more than 22 years.

He recently joked that, as mayor, he should have been first to rape an Australian missionary murdered in a prison riot, but he later apologized.

Digong Duterte’s closest rivals in the opinion polls are Grace Poe – a former schoolteacher and first-term senator – and Mar Roxas, a former investment banker and the grandson of the first president of the Philippine Republic.

President Benigno Aquino has been leading attempts to bring together other candidates in an effort to defeat Rodrigo Duterte.

He warned that if Digong Duterte were to be elected, it could mean a return to dictatorship.

In a final rally on May 7, Benigno Aquino appealed to voters: “I need your help to stop the return of terror in our land. I cannot do it alone.”

However, the other four candidates – also including Jejomar Binay and Miriam Defensor-Santiago – refused to step aside.

A vice-president, senators and about 18,000 local officials including mayors will also be elected.

More than 54 million Filipinos are registered to vote across the archipelago of 7,000 islands.

Voting began at 06:00 local time and is due to end at 17:00.

Voting could be extended in some areas, because of problems with new electronic voting equipment, election officials said.