Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whom Donald Trump invited to the White House during a friendly chat back in December, has bragged that no matter what terrible things terrorists might do to people, he can absolutely one-up them, brutality-wise.
“If you want me to be an animal, I’m also used to that. We’re just the same,” Duterte said in a speech on Sunday. “I can dish out, go down what you can 50 times over.”
“Just give me vinegar and salt, I’ll eat his liver,” he added.
Rodrigo Duterte—who has said he would like to kill as many drug dealers and users as Hitler killed Jews, and offhandedly claimed to have once thrown someone out of a helicopter—has explicitly encouraged the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers and users, and implied his own involvement with the notorious Davao Death Squad. Police statistics indicate more than 4,000 people in the Philippines have been killed by police and vigilante squads in Duterte’s drug war, while a recent complaint filed with the International Criminal Court puts that number above 8,000. From the New York Times:
The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, said in a 77-page complaint that Mr. Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed more than 9,400 people, mostly poor young men, since 1988, when Mr. Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines.
“The situation in the Philippines reveals a terrifying, gruesome and disastrous continuing commission of extrajudicial executions or mass murder from the time President Duterte was the mayor of Davao City,” the complaint says.
Senator Leila de Lima, one of Duterte’s most outspoken critics, was arrested and jailed in February on drug charges she says were concocted to keep her quiet; she told the Times that she’s concerned she might be killed in prison. Sabio asked the ICC to charge Duterte and 11 other officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity.
After their phone call in December, Duterte claimed that Trump endorsed his violent campaign: “He wishes me well, too, in my campaign, and he said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” he said in December.