Since coming to power in late June, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has shocked the world with a brutal anti-drug campaign that involves extrajudicial killings, and with crude insults directed at anyone questioning that campaign. He’s directed his tirades not just at domestic opponents, but also at world leaders like UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and institutions like the European Union. He’s also ranted against the United States, suggesting he’ll weaken ties with the longtime ally and aid provider, while forging stronger ones with China and Russia—countries less inclined to criticize his methods.
Now another voice is questioning Duterte—this time from the world of entertainment in the Philippines. On Oct. 7 award-winning actress Agot Isidro wrote a Facebook post about Duterte in which she called the volatile leader “a psychopath.” Her post came in response to Duterte saying he’d be fine with the US and EU withdrawing their aid to the impoverished nation.
“If you think it is high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead,” he said. “We will not beg for it. We have a problem here trying to preserve our society and you mess up by human rights.”
The 50-year-old actress wrote:
First of all, no one is trying to fight you. As a matter of fact, you’re the one who’s picking a fight. Secondly, the country where you are elected as president by 16 million out of 100-plus million is Third World. You talk as if the Philippines is a superpower. Excuse me, we don’t want to go hungry. If you want, you do it yourself. Leave us out of it. So many people have nothing to eat, and yet you’ll starve us even further… Third, I know a psychiatrist. Get yourself checked. You’re not bipolar. You are a psychopath.
The president’s office responded to Isidro’s comments on Sunday:
“While she (Isidro) is entitled to her own opinion, it also reveals the kind of attitude that the President is addressing – dependency on foreign aid. He wants the Filipino people to gain true independence, economically, mentally and socially.”