In Mr. Duterteâs angry pronouncement on Thursday, the president said, âYou think that we are a bunch of morons here. Because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All. All of you.â
Rights groups, among others, have broadly condemned the presidentâs brutal antidrug campaign. But after the Progressive Alliance issued its statement, the European Union sought to distance itself and said trade relations remained intact.
âThe statements made by the Progressive Alliance during its visit to the Philippines were made solely on behalf of the Progressive Alliance and do not represent the position of the European Union,â the 28-nation bloc said.
The Philippines is also in the process of negotiating its trade agreement with the European Union. The country now receives preferential treatment, allowing more than 6,200 products from the Philippines to enter the bloc duty free.
The deal is under review, and the blocâs report on the Philippines is expected as early as January.
The Philippinesâ trade secretary, Ramon Lopez, who recently visited Europe, played down on Friday the impact of Mr. Duterteâs statement, stressing instead a âlot of collaborative, positive efforts and programsâ with the European Union.
Mr. Lopez said he told the blocâs officials, âPlease donât be carried away by the international media releases, because you would really be concerned if you read them.â
He added, âWe assured them that our president, No. 1, really does not want abuses like those,â referring to vigilante and police killings during Mr. Duterteâs tenure.