MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte visited on Tuesday night a Jewish synagogue to reiterate his apology for his statement comparing his intensified war on drugs and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s killings of Jews during the Holocaust.
”I came here with a prepared speech but I will not read it…First, I would like to greet you on your holy day and second, I would like to apologize and it comes from the heart,” President Duterte said in his speech in front of the Jewish Association of the Philippines members at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City.
”It was not intended…It has nothing to do with the memory of the Jews because in my country we do not tinker with the memory of our ancestors,” he added.
Last Sunday, President Duterte apologized to the Jewish community all over the world, saying he has no intention to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans when he said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts in the Philippines.
The President admitted that he was “terribly wrong” when upon arrival from two-day official visit in Vietnam at 2 a.m. last Friday, he mentioned Hitler murdered millions of Jews.
”And for that I apologized. Please accept my apology. It will never happen again. We will remain friends,” the President said at the Jewish synagogue.
President Duterte said he used to threaten criminals and drug users when he was Davao City mayor for 22 years.
”There is no law in my land which says that I cannot threaten criminals. I will top corruption, drugs and criminality even if I have to die for it,” he said.
Duterte told the Jewish community that his war on drugs will not stop “until the last pusher is taken out of the streets.”
”It will be relenting and I will not stop even if it will take me the whole of my six years term,” the President said.
Without flattering his Jewish audience, the President said his government has intention to purchase military equipment from Israel companies.
”This is not flatter you. I have apologized. If you accept it, fine. If you don’t, I’m very, very sorry. It was not intended. It was just a mental slip of the number of 3 and Hitler. It had nothing to do with the memories of the Jews,” he said.
President Duterte also said “eventually I might, in might time, I will break up with America and I’d rather to go China and Russia.”
”At least, if they do not agree with our ideology, they respect for the people. Respect is important and that is why I’m here. I really came here to say I’m sorry,” he said.
Ask for comment, Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Effir Ben Matityau told the media that they accepted the apology of President Duterte.
”He is the President. He said it was never intentional so we accept his apology. From the start we knew his personality already, and we know it’s not intentional,” the Israel envoy said. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com