Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman on Saturday said that the President does not want to be branded another Hitler but is willing to kill three million people in his crime war.
Rodrigo Duterte, who appeared to liken himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, on Friday said that he would “be happy” to exterminate 3 million drug users and peddlers in the country.
“We do not wish to diminish the profound loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“The president’s reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, a label he rejects.”
Rodrigo remark was played down by US President Barack Obama. His comments triggered shock and anger among Jewish groups in the United States, which could create pressure on the US government to take a tougher line with the Philippines leader.
Speaking to reporters, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he personally found Mr. Duterte’s comments “deeply troubling”, though the matter wasn’t discussed at the meeting.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner had earlier described Mr. Duterte’s remarks, made in a rambling speech in Davao City, as “a significant departure” from America’s partnership with the Philippines “and we find them troubling.”
Duterte told reporters that he had been “portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by critics. Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Mr. Duterte said, “There are 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them. “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have …,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.
“You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide Adama Dieng expressed alarm and urged the Philippines leader to exercise restraint in his use of language, a UN statement said.
Dieng also called on Mr. Duterte to support an investigation into the reported rise in killings resulting from his anti-drug campaign, the statement said.
Duterte had in August threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the United Nations after it called for an end to the killings.