20 March 2018

US lawmaker to protest if Duterte visits White House

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A U.S. lawmaker vowed Thursday to lead a protest against President Rodrigo Duterte if the Philippine leader visits the White House on an invitation by American President Donald Trump. reports citing Anadolu news.

Congressman McGovern said it was a mistake to invite Duterte.

"I certainly believe, very strongly, that a man with the human rights records of President Duterte should not be invited to the White House, and if he comes, I will lead the protest," McGovern said in opening remarks before a congressional hearing, according to GMA News.

Trump invited Duterte to Washington during a friendly televphone call in April.

The two leaders discussed the threat of North Korea during the conversation, the Philippine government's intensified campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs and the importance of the U.S.-Philippines alliance, which is headed in a positive direction.

During the hearing Thursday, congresswoman Jackie Speier said Duterte's "abuses" should be condemned by Trump and Congress.

Speier’s California district is home to the largest Filipino community in the continental U.S., and she said she has heard "increasing concerns" from constituents "appalled" by alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.

"Mr Duterte's murderous extrajudicial campaign has drawn condemnation from around the world – except from President Trump, who has had a 'very friendly' conversation with the man who once said, 'I don't care about human rights,' and who called President [Barack] Obama a 'son of a whore' for speaking out against atrocities President Duterte has committed against his own people," Rappler reported Speier said.

"It is critical that both Congress and the President condemn President Duterte's unacceptable human rights abuses in the strongest possible terms and to take concrete action to ensure that the United States is not enabling these practices," she added.

The hearing comes after two U.S. senators in May filed a bill restricting the export of certain weapons and equipment to the Philippine National Police as a consequence of Duterte's anti-drug campaign.

Duterte has said he detests U.S. officials who supposedly interfere with his anti-drug campaign, even as he begins to see warming relations with Trump, whom he calls a "deep thinker”.

2017.07.21 / 11:24
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