Duterte rejects EU invite, expects to be ‘insulted’ there

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo has turned down an invitation from the European Union (EU) to attend the upcoming 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in October.

Speaking at the 45th anniversary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday, February 6, Duterte expressed his belief that he would only be insulted at the event.

“Tingin niyo sa akin ganun noon (You used to belittle me). Why change your assessment of my persona? What am I supposed to do there? Ask me question(s)? Insultuhin ninyo ako (insult me)? E pu**hin ko kayong lahat dun (I will curse at you there),” Duterte remarked.

He went on to say, “Hindi ako gaya ng ibang presidente na pwede mo lang… Bahala kayo diyan (I’m not like other presidents you can belittle. I leave that to you).”

Last month, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen disclosed that the bloc has sent an invitation for Duterte to attend the ASEM.

The EU ambassador hoped that after Duterte’s visit in Europe, he will come back in the Philippines “with a more positive understanding” of the EU.

“He’s not been to Europe, and I think he’s actually never been to Europe, and when you think about the importance of the EU-Philippine relationship, it is probably starting to be noticeable that we haven’t had a visit from him,” Jessen then said.

Duterte, who assumed the presidency in 2016, had repeatedly lashed out at the EU for raising human rights concerns over his controversial campaign against illegal drugs, accusing the bloc of interfering in the Philippines’ domestic affairs.

The EU ambassador further remarked that Duterte could also use the invitation as an opportunity “to develop his understanding of Europe.”

“We are not spending all our time criticizing the Philippines,” Jessen said back in January.

The ASEM is a dialogue forum aiming “to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.” It set to take place on October 18 and 19 this year at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

‘Too presumptuous’

In the same speech, Duterte also assailed United States lawmakers for saying they would lead protests if he sets foot in Washington.

“Sabi ng dalawang senador doon (According to two senators there), ‘If that Duterte comes here, we will lead a protest.’ You know guys, you are too presumptuous,” the Filipino leader said.

Duterte was referring to Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois) and James McGovern (D-Massachusetts), who have blasted the alleged human rights violations in the Philippines in connection with Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“Whoever told you that magpunta ako diyan sa lugar ninyo (that I will go to your place)? Anong makuha ko diyan (What will I get)? Anong makita ko (What will I see)?” Duterte added.

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