Trump doesn't raise human rights violations with Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – Going against the request of human rights groups and American lawmakers, United States President Donald Trump did not raise the issue of human rights violations with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was according to Philippine Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, in a statement sent to media minutes after the end of the bilateral meeting held on Monday, November 13.
"The issue of human rights did not arise. It was not brought up," said Roque. (READ: The defeaning silence of ASEAN on human rights violations)
Past midnight Sunday, November 12, Duterte said he was sure Trump wouldn't raise the issue of extrajudicial killings during their scheduled meeting in Manila.
However, on Monday, Duterte himself introduced his controversial drug war as a topic of conversation. Trump did not voice any stance on the matter, but was nodding at the Philippine leader.
"It was President Duterte who brought up with President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines, and the US president appeared sympathetic and did not have any official position on the matter but was merely nodding his head," said Roque.
Trump assured his fellow firebrand leader that he had "always been a friend of the Duterte administration."
"[Trump] stressed that he can be counted upon as a friend of the Duterte administration," Roque added.
The controversial American leader set himself apart from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had criticized Duterte's war on drugs and cautioned him to do it "the right way."
"I have been your friend since I was elected. My predecessor was not your friend," said Trump. – Rappler.com