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    Aug 11, 2016

    Duterte's jibes at US envoy irk Washington


    OMINOUS cracks have appeared in the Philippines' alliance with the United States after President Rodrigo Duterte hurled names, including "gay", at American ambassador Philip Goldberg, with Washington demanding clarification for the outbursts.

    According to the Coconuts Manila news website, the fusillade against Mr Goldberg came when Mr Duterte was speaking to soldiers in central Cebu city on Friday.

    Sharing his sentiments, the president said he is annoyed by the 56-year-old envoy, whom he cursed and called "a gay ambassador".

    In Philippines, the term "gay" is often used to insult someone regarded as cowardly.

    The president disclosed that it all started around April when Mr Goldberg criticised the "joke" Mr Duterte had made back in 1989 as the mayor of Davao city about the rape and killing of an Australian missionary in a jail riot.

    "He meddled during the election, giving statements here and there.

    "He was not supposed to do that," Mr Duterte, 71, said on Friday.

    Yesterday, while visiting a military camp in Zamboanga in southern Philippines, he reiterated: "He (Mr Goldberg) is not supposed to meddle (with our affairs) because that's our business."

    According to the American Broadcasting Company, the US-Philippine relations have been unstable since Mr Duterte took office.

    Washington is also uneasy about his vigilante death squads, which have executed at least 600 suspected drug traffickers since June.

    "We've seen those inappropriate comments made about Ambassador Goldberg," a spokesman for the US State Department told the media on Monday, reported Agence France-Presse.

    But she declined to say what the Filipino charge d'affaires in Washington, who had been summoned to clarify the presidential invectives, told her department.