MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday apologized to Jews for comparing himself with Adolf Hitler but said he did nothing wrong and reiterated his desire to kill millions of drug addicts.
Duterte, whose bloody war on crime had already drawn international condemnation, sparked fresh outrage on Friday when he likened his deadly crime war with Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews.
Duterte said he was merely reacting to critics who drew comparisons between him and the Nazi leader.
“So I said, ‘sure I am Hitler, but the ones I will kill are these (drug addicts)’,” Duterte said in a speech broadcast on national television.
“But it is not really that I said something wrong. But rather they do not really want to tinker with the memory so I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish (people).
“It was never my intention but the problem was I was criticized using Hitler, comparing to me. But I was very emphatic. I will kill the three million.”
Duterte, 71, won elections in May in a landslide after a campaign dominated by his pledge to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.
Since taking office on June 30, police have killed more than 1,200 people and about 1,800 others have died in unexplained circumstances, according to official figures.
While issuing his qualified apology on Friday, Duterte continued to lash out at Western critics and warned he was willing to kick all American troops out of the Philippines.
“The Americans, I don’t like them…. they are reprimanding me in public. So I say: ‘Screw you, fuck you, everything else. You are stupid’,” he said.
Duterte threatened to cancel a defense accord with the United States, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), that went into force in January.
That agreement, sealed under the administration of Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, allows US forces access to five Philippine bases to help counterbalance a growing Chinese presence in the South China Sea.
“This EDCA is an official document… but it does not bear the signature of the president of the republic,” Duterte said.
“Better think twice now because I will be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether.”
The United States and the Philippines are longtime allies bound by a mutual defense pact.
However Duterte has repeatedly threatened to move away from the United States and forge closer ties China and Russia.
Duterte last month branded US President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”
Duterte on Sunday also hit out at the Europeans saying: “These stupid lawyers in the EU… well, screw you. I will kick you.”