Rodrigo Duterte may be doubling down on his controversial pivot to China, but he will at least clean up his potty mouth, thanks to some divine intervention. The Philippine president claimed that he heard the voice of God on his plane ride home from Japan:
“I was looking at the skies while I was coming over here … everybody was asleep, snoring, but a voice said that, ‘you know, if you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now’,” Duterte said at a news conference late on Thursday upon arrival in his home city of Davao.
“And I said, ‘who is this?’ So, of course, it’s God. OK.
“So, I promise God … not to express slang, cuss words and everything.”
Apart from abruptly upending decades of Philippine foreign policy, Duterte is best known for his colorful outbursts. He has called both President Obama and Pope Francis the “son of a whore,” flipped off the EU and gleefully compared his violent crackdown on drug dealers in the Philippines to the Holocaust. By comparison, his remarks this week, when he told U.S. businessmen to “pack their bags” and leave the Philippines, seem downright tame.
Meanwhile, officials in Washington continue to pray that their Prodigal Son might return home.