Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to the Jewish community on Sunday for his earlier remarks, in which he compared his war on drugs with the way Adolf Hitler slaughtered Jews.
“I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered,” he said Sunday in a speech at a festival carried live on television.
“The reference to me was, I was supposedly Hitler, who killed many people.
“I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community… it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me,” he added.
Duterte’s gaffe on Sunday came after critics called him the “cousin of Hitler” for his controversial heavy-handed approach to drug crime. Rights groups accuse the Philippines president of extrajudicial killings and other abuses, with an estimated 3,100 deaths attributed to the campaign since Duterte took office three months ago.
The Philippines president was elected on a promise to extend nationwide his anti-drug approach from the city of Davao. The 71-year-old was nicknamed ‘the Punisher’ after the vigilante anti-hero of Marvel comics.
The president also made a number of controversial remarks insulting leading world officials, including his US counterpart Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.