MANILA, Philippines – Just give him salt and vinegar and President Rodrigo Duterte is ready to "eat alive" terrorists, if driven to extreme anger.
"'Pag galitin mo akong talagang sasagad na, kaya kong kumain ng tao. Bigyan mo lang ako ng suka't asin, kakainin ko sa harap nila 'yan," the Philippine President said in his trademark deadpan fashion when he addressed a gathering of Filipinos based in Vientiane, Laos, on Monday night, September 5.
(Just drive me to extreme anger, and I can eat a person. Just give me vinegar and salt, I can eat a person in front of them.)
Duterte was sharing his thoughts on violent extremists, particularly terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
He said if he ever witnesses ISIS barbarity in the Philippines, he would not hesitate to "eat" terrorists alive.
"They've burned 20 young girls for refusing to have sex. Ano'ng – 'pag pinaharap mo ako ng gano'n – alam mo, kaya kong kumain ng tao. Talagang buksan ko 'yang katawan mo, bigyan mo ako suka't asin, kakainin kita," Duterte said, his latest apparent hyperbole to show his disgust over terrorists.
(If you show me that kind of act – you know, I am capable of eating a person. I'll really open up the body, give me vinegar and salt, I'll eat you.)
Talking about his controversial campaign against illegal drugs, he said he is the only political leader capable of "eating a person" who has done great harm to the country.
"Sino'ng puwedeng mag-Presidente? Gawin mo 'yan. Kaya nila 'yan, kumain ng tao? Oo. Ako, 'pag galitin mo ako, sa totoo lang – I will eat you alive. Raw," said Duterte.
(Who can be President? Do that. Can they do that, eat a person? Yes. Me, if you anger me, in truth, I will eat you alive. Raw.)
Duterte had made a similar statement during the presidential campaign when he pointed to what he believed was an essential quality of a Chief Executive – he or she must have the capacity to kill for the national interest. When he was Davao City mayor, he used to say that he would "personally" kill people to stop criminality.
His Palace aides have dismissed Duterte's supposed propensity for killing as mere "hyperbole."
Duterte became the first Filipino official to publicly acknowledge the threat of ISIS in August. (Read: Duterte: ISIS followers radicalizing Filipinos in Mindanao)
He warned that the Philippines would have a "problem with the ISIS" in the next "3 to 7 years."
Duterte has been known for his colorful, hyperbolic language, especially when he makes threats or launches tirades.
The President has ordered the military to "destroy" the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group responsible for hostage-taking and previous bomb attacks.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.