On Monday Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called Barack Obama a 'son of a bitch' when a reporter asked how he intended to explain the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers to the US President.
On Monday he called Barack Obama a 'son of a bitch' when a reporter asked how he intended to explain the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers to the US President.
Duterte responded: "I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people. You must be respectful.
"Do not just throw questions. Putang ina I will swear at you in front of everybody," he said, using a common Tagalog cuss phrase which translates to "son of a bitch", international media reports.
The US responded to his comments cancelling a scheduled meeting with Duterte,which was to be on the sidelines of a three-day regional summit of 18 world leaders in Laos.
However, Duterte soon rescinded on his harsh words. In a statement read out on Tuesday by his spokesman, Duterte said his "strong comments" to certain questions by a reporter "elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president".
"We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries," the statement said.
"Who is he (Obama) to confront me?" Duterte said, adding the Philippines had not received an apology from the US for atrocities committed during its colonisation of the Philippines.
Duterte has been in office since June 30, and has vowed to crack down on illegal drugs.
The 71-year-old president, built a reputation for tough anti-crime methods while mayor of the southern city of Davao, won the 9 May election on a promise to end criminality and corruption in the first three to six months of his presidency.
More than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed since Duterte launched a war on drugs after taking office on June 30.
In July, Filipino authorities said nine people had been killed in “anti-drug” attacks following President Duterte’s call on communist factions to kill drug traffickers and dealers, the UK Independent reported.
Civil rights groups were demanding investigations amid fears of summary executions.
This included a pledge to kill tens of thousands of drug dealers and other criminals – with the help of the authorities and the general public. The pledge won Duterte support but also sparked alarm among human rights groups.
Controversy surrounds the president. He had previously joked about rape when speaking on the rape and murder of an Australian woman.
During his campaign earlier this year, he was filmed joking and making crude comments about the rape and murder of Jacquelline Hamill, who was taken hostage, raped and killed during a siege in 1989.
He implied the death of Ms Hamill was "a waste" because of her beauty, and said the mayor "should have been first" to rape her.
In a video on YouTube, Duterte can be seen describing seeing Ms Hamill’s body, and saying: “I looked at her face – son of a bitch- what a waste.
“I was so angry because she was raped, that’s one thing… but she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.”
Duterte said later that his comments were “not a joke” and that he had just been “talking plain sense narrative.”
He apologized to the Filipino people, and said “It is my style. It is my mouth. I said that in the heat of anger,” the UK Independent reported.