The president of the Philippines launched into a tirade Thursday, accusing the U.S. of using ambassadors as CIA spies.
“Most of the ambassadors of the United States, but not all, are not really professional ambassadors. At the same time they are spying, they are connected with the CIA,” President Rodrigo Duterte said on TV Thursday, according to Reuters.
“The ambassador of a country is the number one spy. But there are ambassadors of the US, their forte is really to undermine governments,” he added.
Duterte’s comments follow the release of a Manila Times article Tuesday that asserted the former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg left behind a “blueprint to undermine Duterte.” Without going into specific details, the paper said it acquired the document from a “highly-placed source.”
“Political actors would need all the political weapons in their arsenal to replace the Duterte administration and replace it with something more to the opposition’s liking,” the document reportedly read.
The U.S. Department of State has denied the allegations, reporting them to be “false.”
“No such blueprint exists,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Russel said in a statement Tuesday, “The United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people.”
Duterte issued a warning to the U.S. Thursday. “You might be able to oust me, but I will give you a bloody nose,” he said.
Duterte has said several times that the U.S. wants to bring him down to end his war on drugs.
Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the Obama administration due to divergent views on human rights and the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines, but his concerns about the CIA and his destabilization theory date back to before President Barack Obama took office.
He believes that the CIA was behind a series of bombings, possible false flag attacks, in Davao during his time as mayor that killed dozens and injured hundreds of people.
Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters previously that Duterte has spoken often about his fears of dying in office.
His worries, however, have rarely been relayed publicly.
“I’ll be ousted? Fine. If so, it’s part of my destiny … If I die, that’s part of my destiny. Presidents get assassinated,” Duterte said in October.
While Duterte’s relationship with Washington may be strained, he has high hopes for President-elect Donald Trump. He said Thursday that he likes Trump and is eagerly waiting for him to take office.
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