MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he would like to kill millions of drug addicts in the Philippines, defying international criticism of his country’s bloody war on narcotics and escalating his brutal rhetoric with a reference to the Holocaust.
“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews,” Duterte said after returning to the Philippines from a trip to Vietnam, understating the toll cited by historians, which is 6 million. “Now there is three million, there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Killing that number of drug users would “finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he said.
Since Duterte took office in June promising a grisly campaign against crime and drugs, the Philippines has seen a surge in killings of drug suspects.
Philippine officials have counted about 3,000 deaths during the crackdown, about a third at the hands of the police.
The police spokesman Dionardo Carlos said Friday that the police had been overstating the number killed by the police. He said that the correct number was 1,120, not about 1,500, which the police had given earlier. He did not explain why the number had been revised.
The police have also said that 1,500 nonpolice killings are under investigation and that hundreds of these also are believed to be drug-related.
Responding to expressions of alarm about the killings from the European Union and other international bodies, Duterte said Friday that the European Union’s advisers on the issue were “pea-brained.” He criticized European officials for finding fault with his government while not doing enough to help migrants fleeing war-torn Middle Eastern countries.
“You allow them to rot, and then you’re worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000?” he said.
Duterte complained that his foreign critics had depicted him as “a cousin of Hitler” and said that they were wrong to criticize him now that he was the country’s president. Doing so put all Filipinos “to shame,” he said.
The president’s latest provocative remarks came days after he cast doubt on the Philippines’ longstanding military ties with the United States, announcing in Vietnam that the countries’ coming joint military exercises would be their last. Officials in his government later said that all military agreements with the United States were still in effect and that they were awaiting “clarification and guidance” from Duterte.
While in Vietnam,Duterte also said he had received information that “the CIA is planning to kill me.” Officials in his government and at the US Embassy in Manila declined to comment on that statement.
A spokeswoman for the embassy, Molly Koscina, said Friday that the United States would continue to work with the Philippines to “uphold our shared democratic values.” She said the relationship was built on “shared sacrifices for democracy and human rights, and strong people-to-people and societal ties, and obviously we’d like to see that continue.”