Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Who Once Called Vladimir Putin An ‘Idol,’ Criticizes The Russian Leader

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine in a televised meeting with government officials Tuesday.

Duterte, who is set to officially step down June 30, criticized Putin’s war in Ukraine for killing innocent civilians while trying to distance himself from the Russian leader he once called his “idol,” The Associated Press reported.

“Many say that Putin and I are both killers,” Duterte said, according to the AP. “I’ve long told you Filipinos that I really kill. But I kill criminals. I don’t kill children and the elderly. We’re in two different worlds.”

The Philippines joined 140 countries in denouncing Russia‘s war with Ukraine. Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippines ambassador to the United States, announced in March that Duterte would honor the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the U.S. if American forces engaged in war with Russia.

“He says if they’re asking for the support of the Philippines, he was very clear that if push comes to shove, the Philippines will be ready to be part of the effort, especially if this Ukrainian crisis spills over to the Asian region,” Romualdez said. “He offered that the Philippines will be ready to open its doors, especially to our ally the US in using our facilities, any facilities they may need.”

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating Duterte for his crushing anti-drug campaign suspected of committing criminal atrocities against his people, the AP reported. (RELATED: ‘Shoot Them Dead’: President Duterte Tells Police To Kill Those Who Defy Lockdown Orders In The Philippines)

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said a Feb. 2018 probe found “there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed.”

Duterte defended his administration’s anti-drug crackdown in a 2018 statement insisting his crackdown was “lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers” who target the nation’s youth.

He seemingly doubled down on his support for the drug crackdown while campaigning in 2021, promising to be tougher on criminals.

“I would never deny, and the ICC can record it: Those who destroy my country, I will kill you. And those who destroy the young people of our country, I will kill you. I will really bring you down because I love my country,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown is suspected of killing over 6,000 criminals, many of them small-time ones.