Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jan 2017
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer


SAN FRANCISCO -- A US newspaper called on Washington to make sure that US
aid to the Philippines is not used for President Rodrigo Duterte's war on

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial ran weeks before the
kidnap-for-ransom-murder of a South Korean expatriate in the hands of
Philippine National Police officers -- in the guise of an anti-drug
operation--came to light and triggered an international outcry.

The Post-Gazette editorialized on Jan. 2 that "Even in a roomful of
tinhorn dictators, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines would

Its editorial recalls that Duterte has insulted President Barack Obama,
Pope Francis, a UN official whom he called an idiot, admitted to
personally killing suspected criminals, and threatened to burn down the
U.N. headquarters. It also notes Duterte's interest in closer ties with
China, a US rival on trade, security and other matters.

"It will be especially important to ensure that U.S. aid to the
Philippines is not used for illicit purposes, such as a extrajudicial war
on drugs. Duterte's outbursts are more unsettling than braggadocio. They
give the impression that he's unhinged," the editorial states.

"In recent days, Duterte's comments have become increasingly outrageous,"
raising more questions about how the United States should deal with him,
the editorial states further.

The newspaper notes that three US senators, "including Marco Rubio of
Florida, a state with a large Filipino population," have asked the State
Department to probe if millions of dollars in aid have been earmarked for
law-enforcement training in the Philippines and "diverted to extrajudicial
drug fighting." If so, "US and international policy toward Duterte should
be modified accordingly."

"[Duterte] is not likely to appreciate the scrutiny. If he comes to New
York, someone should be assigned to watch him," the Post-Gazette advises.
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