The United States called Manila envoy Patrick Chuasoto for a meeting after President Rodrigo Duterte called US Ambassador Philip Goldberg “bakla” (gay).
Chuasoto heads the Philippine embassy in Washington, DC, replacing former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr.
US State Department Press Office director Elizabeth Trudeau said on Monday, August 8, “We’ve seen those inappropriate comments made about Ambassador Goldberg. He’s a multi-time ambassador, one of our most senior US diplomats.”
On summoning Chuasoto, Trudeau said, “We have asked the Philippines charge to come into the State Department to clarify those remarks.”
However, she refused to give further details about the meeting, aside from telling the media in a news briefing that “it was specifically on those remarks.”
On late Friday night, August 5, Duterte showed signs that he is still not over his issue with Goldberg, despite having met the ambassador a few times after the May 9 elections.
He told the troops at Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City about what he thinks of Goldberg.
“Okay naman kami niya [US Secretary of State John Kerry]. Nag-away kami ng Ambassador niyang bakla. P***** i**. Buwisit ako diyan. Nakisali doon sa eleksyon, giving statement here and there. He was not supposed to do that,” Duterte said.
Duterte courted controversies during his campaign, especially after he made what was widely perceived as a rape joke about an Australian missionary who was raped and killed during a Davao prison hostage crisis in 1989.
Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely took to Twitter to say that “rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized.” Goldberg followed suit when he said in a CNN interview, “I can only agree with the colleague from the Australian embassy. Any statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder, are not ones that we condone.”
US urges PH to comply with human rights obligations
Trudeau also raised concern on the rising death toll of suspected drug personalities due to extrajudicial killings. The US government called on the Philippines to uphold the rule of law in its war against drugs.
Asked by a reporter about “the exercise of the rule of law to demand people surrender and threaten to hunt them down, Trudeau said, “We are concerned by these detentions, as well as extrajudicial killing of individuals suspected to be involved in drug activity in the Philippines.”
“We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts comply with its human rights obligations,” Trudeau said.
Adding that the partnership between the US and the Philippines has been based on respect for rule of law, she said, “We believe in due process. We believe in respect for universal human rights. We believe fundamentally that those aspects ensure and promote long-term security.”