Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte: I will never swear again, because God told me to

Politician is known for telling Barack Obama to 'go to hell'

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 28 October 2016 17:04 BST
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he had a message from God to stopping turning the air blue
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he had a message from God to stopping turning the air blue

The outspoken Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, has vowed to never swear again after he made to a promise to God.

Mr Duterte has become known for his profanity – such as calling Pope Francis a “son of a bitch” and telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” for his criticism of the war on drugs which has seen the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people since June.

The controversial politician made the pledge when he returned to his home city of Davao City in the south of the country after a trip to Japan on Thursday.

He explained that while he was flying home he heard a voice threatening to down the plane if he did not stop swearing.

He said heard the voice say ‘If you don't stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now’.

“And I said, 'Who is this?' So, of course, 'it's God’”, the continued.

“So, I promise God to ... not express slang, cuss words and everything.

“So you guys hear me right always because a promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”

The decision is a turnaround for the 71-year-old who has been compared to US presidential candidate Donald Trump due to his outspokenness and determination to oppose what he called the self-serving elites running the country.

He has condemned the human rights groups and foreign governments who have called for him to end his crackdown on illegal drugs in the country. Thousands of those suspected of being involved in the trade have been killed since he took office at the end of June.

While campaigning for the presidency last year, Mr Duterte caused outrage among the country’s Roman Catholic bishops when he complained about the Pope’s visit to Manila causing a major traffic jam.

He told supporters: “I wanted to call. 'Pope, you son of a bitch, go home.' Don't visit here anymore”.

It comes as Mr Duterte distanced himself from his country’s historic ties with the US saying Washington cannot treat Manila like “a dog on a leash”.

Earlier this week he said he will not honour the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which allows US troops to be stationed on the country’s islands.

During a recent trip to Beijing Mr Duterte signalled he wished to move closer to the country’s former regional adversary, saying an economic partnership with China was the Philippines’ “only hope” for the future.

The two countries had previously been at loggerheads over their conflicting claims to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea but the Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in the Philippines’ favour in July.

Additional reporting by AP

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