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Germany rebukes Philippine envoy over Hitler comments

Nicole Ng
February 22, 2019

Germany's Foreign Office called in an envoy for the Philippines this week after comments defending President Rodrigo Duterte's description of himself as a cousin of Hitler. It also criticized the country's war on drugs.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/O. Matthys

Germany Foreign Office spokesman Rainer Breuer said on Friday that his ministry had called in the Philippine envoy to discuss comments by diplomat Teodore "Teddy Boy" Loscin Jr., defending 2016 statements from President Rodrigo Duterte concerning Adolf Hitler. 

"Yesterday in the Foreign Office, there was a discussion with the Philippine enyoy, in which we again made our position clear. We also underlined that while we recognize the Philippines' right to prioritize fighting drug criminality, the so-called 'war on drugs' and the connected killings are totally unacceptable and represent serious violations of human rights," Rainer Breuer said at the government's daily briefing on Friday. 

"The German government had criticized this Philippine approach, this campaign, from the start. We are in close consultation with our EU partners and we've brought this up several times at the UN Human Rights Council," Breuer said. 

A diplomat at the Foreign Ministry told DW that the government was treating them as "unacceptable remarks," but that it had not issued a summons demanding that a diplomat come to answer for the comments.

'How Duterte expresses himself'

In an interview with German public broadcaster ARD, Teodore L. Locsin Jr. defended Duterte's 2016 description of himself as "the cousin of Hitler."

In the same speech, Duterte had also stated that "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them."

Locsin was asked if he would apologize for this statement and refused, saying that it was simply "how [the President] expresses himself."

"Remember his policy, according to surveys, has inspired greater confidence. Why would we give up on that?"

Read more: Can anyone believe what Duterte says?

In the interview clip, Locsin continues to reject the interviewer's suggestions that Hitler was a role model for his president, saying he "didn't know what he meant by it".

When pressed, he then made a statement of his own.

"I will tell you, I said the same thing, okay? I myself said the same thing before he even said it."

Read more: Duterte plans anti-communist 'death squad' in Philippines

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has described the interview as "biased" and "misleading."

"The video posted by Mr. Henze on his blog is incomplete and misleading. It failed to show Mr. Henze's deliberate attempts to provoke Secretary Locsin into giving controversial remarks," it wrote.

It is not the first time Locsin has been in trouble for such comments. In a series of tweets which date back to his time as the Philippine's UN Ambassador, he said that the Nazis were "right after all" and voiced hopes for a "final solution" for his country's war on drugs.

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