Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte (top L) arrives at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane on September 5, 2016 for the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit to be held September 6-8. (photos by AFP)
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has warned US President Barack Obama not to question him about reports of extrajudicial killings when they meet in Laos later, using a vulgar Tagalog term to describe him.
His comments, made in reply to a reporter in Manila about how he will explain the killings, prompted a response from Obama, suggesting he may refuse to meet with him.
The US president “must be respectful” and not “throw questions,” Duterte was quoted by AP as saying before flying to Laos. “Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum." The phrase in Tagalog means "son of a b****."
"Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people," he asserted. "Look at the human rights of America along that line. The way they treat the migrants there."
"Clearly, he's a colorful guy," Obama said. "What I've instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations."
"I always want to make sure if I'm having a meeting, it's productive," he added, noting still that "if and when" the two meet, he will "undoubtedly" bring up human rights and due process concerns.
"We will always assert the need to have due process," he said.
After launching a war on drugs upon taking office in January, Duterte is said to have killed more than 2,000 suspected drug sellers and users.
The two world leaders were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on Tuesday.
US President Barack Obama disembarks upon arrival on Air Force One at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Laos, September 5, 2016.
The White House announced later that the meeting had been canceled.
The US president arrived in the capital Vientiane late Monday to become the first sitting American president to visit Laos.

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