MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte angrily told Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to “shut up” after she criticized him for “goading people to kill” but said he welcomed criticism from one of his predecessors, Fidel V. Ramos.
“Do not play God and shut up,” Duterte told Morales in a speech at the oath-taking of new presidential appointees in Malacañang on Monday.
“Find me the law which would bar me from saying, ‘I will destroy you if you destroy my country,’ because if you can do that I will step down tomorrow,” he said.
Duterte was piqued by Morales’ statement interview with Japan’s NHK last week, in which she said: “He’s goading people to kill people. That’s a problem … the directive to kill people under any situation, irrespective to the context, to me that’s unacceptable.”
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella presented the oft-repeated explanation that it was the way Duterte “expresses himself and that particular statement may have been taken out of context.”
Yet at the launch of Ramos’ book, also on Monday, Duterte told the former president that “I respect your criticism, I accept your advice …”
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