The always entertaining, ever foul-mouthed Philippine president, who once called the Pope a “son of a bitch” and said Barack Obama is “son of a whore” and can “go to hell”, said God spoke to him during a flight from Japan on Thursday warning him the plane would crash if he kept using bad language, and has promised he will not spew expletives again.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s profanities have become his trademark, especially when threatening to kill drug dealers as part of his war on illegal drugs that has left thousands dead since he took office at the end of June. Duterte made the stunning pledge on arrival in his southern hometown of Davao city from a trip to Japan.
While flying home, he said “I was looking at the skies while I was coming over here … everybody was asleep, snoring, but a voice said that, ‘you know, if you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now’,” Duterte said at a news conference late on Thursday upon arrival in his home city of Davao.
“And I said, ‘who is this?’ So, of course, it’s God. OK. “So, I promise God … not to express slang, cuss words and everything.“
Duterte shocked his country’s dominant Roman Catholics last year when he fired an expletive while expressing his disgust over a monstrous traffic jam that trapped him while Pope Francis was visiting Manila. “I wanted to call: ‘Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don’t visit here anymore,'” he told a mob of supporters, some of whom laughed. He later apologised after Filipino bishops expressed shock and outrage.
Famously, he has told Obama to “go to hell” on several occasions, called U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a “devil” and said “fuck you” twice to the European Union, while raising his middle finger. In Tokyo on Tuesday, Duterte used the same language when speaking about his anger with foreign criticism of his drug war.
It was not the first time Duterte has spoken of his connection with God, whom he said had made him president.
Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s vice-presidential running mate and now his foreign affairs adviser, said Duterte was tired and appeared pensive during the flight back from Japan.
“He felt it was a message from God,” Cayetano told reporters on Friday. “I’ve always felt he’s a deeply spiritual person, he’s not religious, but he believes in God.”
As ABC writes, it is doubtgul that the 71-year-old president, who has been compared to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because of his brash language, can keep his promise. Duterte made a similar pledge in June when it became evident that he had won the May 9 presidential elections overwhelmingly on a pledge to end crimes, especially illegal drugs, and corruption.
He said then, that he was enjoying his last moments as a “rude person” because “when I become president, when I take my oath of office … that will be a different story — there will be a metamorphosis”.
It did not take long for Mr Duterte to break the promise.
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While there were no expletives in his speech on Thursday, but Mr Duterte still sounded mean toward critics. When asked for his message for a Filipino beauty queen who won the recent Miss International pageant, Mr Duterte said he was proud. “Many Filipinas are beautiful, but all of you there in the human rights commission are ugly,” he said.
Asked if the days of his cursing the US and the EU were over, Mr Duterte did not answer clearly. “I do not want anybody reading my mind because I couldn’t make a smart move anymore. But it’s all calibrated, it’s all about timing,” he said.
Maybe God gave Duterte an exemption when it comes to swearing at Obama: we will find out soon.
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