Philippines' Duterte invites 'devil' U.N. chief, EU to debate rights

Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:58am EDT
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By Manuel Mogato and Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) - Firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday invited U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union to investigate his deadly anti-drugs crackdown, after hurling insults at them for interfering in it.

Duterte has taken aim at just about anyone critical of his 11-week-old war on drugs, in which nearly 3,000 people have been killed, according to police, who have adjusted their figure from 3,800 cited last week.

He last month called the United Nations "inutile" and threatened to withdraw the Philippines from it. He gave a middle-finger gesture on Tuesday to the EU, to which he said "fuck you", twice.

"I am inviting the United Nations' Ban Ki ... what's the name of that devil? ... Ban Ki-moon," Duterte said at the opening of a new power plant.

"I am inviting the EU, send the best lawyers of your own, also the rapporteurs, to come to the Philippines. I will write them a letter to invite them for an investigation."

He later added, without elaborating: "Investigate me ... this will not be a one-way affair".

Duterte's defiance of high-profile organizations and his insults of anyone from U.S. President Barack Obama to Pope Francis has been a source of amusement for Filipinos but of concern to diplomats.

Treaty ally the United States has borne the brunt of many of his tirades, with some analysts predicting Duterte would seek to diversify foreign relations beyond Washington, including by seeking better ties with erstwhile maritime foe China.   Continued...

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military's Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro