Philippines President Says Threat To Pull Out Of UN Was Just A ‘Joke’

REUTERS/Erik De Castro.

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he was simply joking when he threatened to pull his country out of the United Nations.

“Can’t you take a joke?” Duterte told reporters Tuesday, AFP reports.

Duterte then went on to skewer UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, who initially lead the charge against his encouragement of extreme vigilante justice against drug traffickers and addicts.

Callamard said he was in potential violation of international law. In response, Duterte on Tuesday slammed her as “ambitious” and “brainless,” saying someone with more authority at the UN should’ve addressed him, like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“They should behave the way they should behave,” Duterte said of the UN.

The Department of State has also expressed concern about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

On Sunday, Duterte casually warned he might withdraw from the United Nations after human rights experts at the international organization criticized his encouragement of extreme vigilante justice against drug traffickers and addicts.

“If you are that insulting, son of a bitch, we should just leave,” Duterte said in a speech.

The latest figures on deaths as a result of the crackdown on illegal drugs in the Philippines amount to 1,900 in total.

Of that total, Ronald dela Rosa, head of the Philippines police, said police had killed 750 people.

Nearly 700,000 addicts and drug traffickers have surrendered to the authorities.

“I admit many are dying but our campaign, now, we have the momentum,” dela Rosa said.

In the past, Duterte’s aides have told the press not to take everything the president says so seriously, as he often uses dark humor to get a point across to the audience.

Duterte has previously said that about 100,000 people will die after he gets done cracking down on crime. In fact, according to Duterte, there will be so many bodies tossed in Manila Bay that the fish will grow fat from feasting on the corpses.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella has tried to downplay Duterte’s comments by noting that he is Cebuano, an ethnic group in the Philippines that “speaks in a very rough kind of humor.”

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