By Daniel Llanto
Malacañang called American actress-singer Bette Midler “incompetent” and “gullible” after Midler included President Duterte with the world’s most detestable leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
An outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump, Midler posted on Twitter her similar revulsion at Duterte in the thick of impeachment hearings on the US President and why this process should be a concern for all Americans.
Midler tweeted: “For Americans who think the impeachment hearings have nothing to do with them, think again. Want to leave the door open to a Hitler? A Stalin? A Castro? A Duterte? A Pol Pot? A Putin? An Assad? A Chavez? A Kim Jong Un? A Mussolini? A Mugabe? An Amin?”
Back in 2017, Midler already called Duterte a “murderous dictator” on her Twitter page, in reaction to the Philippine President serenading Trump at the ASEAN Summit gala dinner in Manila.
“Murderous dictator Duterte serenaded Trump with a Filipino love song,” she wrote.
The Palace had a few choice words for the American singer-actress. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo hit back at Bette Midler.
“We suggest that she revisits her famous song From ‘A Distance’ and learn from its lyrics that she may look at a foreign leader of a distant country with a positive outlook,” Panelo said.
Panelo called Midler “incompetent” and “gullible” for concerning herself with foreign leaders “she has no personal knowledge of. She should be circumspect as an influencer and should refrain from giving one-sided and judgmental comments on internal affairs of another sovereign state,” he added.
The “Hocus Pocus” star is a well-known critic of President Donald Trump and has criticized Duterte before, labelling him a “murderous dictator” a year into his presidency.
Duterte had by himself compared his leadership style early on to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, saying he would be happy to exterminate the estimated three million drug users and peddlers in the country.
The Obama administration then played down Duterte’s remark but this triggered shock and anger among Jewish groups. At the time, US Defense Sec. Ash Carter called a news conference to say he found Duterte’s comments “deeply troubling.”
Then State Department spokesman Mark Toner also described Duterte’s remarks, made in a rambling speech in Davao City, as “a significant departure” from America’s partnership with the Philippines “and we find them troubling.”
Duterte told reporters he had been “portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by critics. Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said, “There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
As far as Kim Jong Un is concerned, Duterte likewise looked up to the North Korean dictator as an “idol” and “hero of everybody” after the two Koreas signed an agreement to put an end to their war and work to remove nuclear weapons in the peninsula.
After the signing, Duterte said he would greet and congratulate Kim if given the opportunity to meet him.
“He has become my idol, Kim Jong Un. For all of the time, he was pictured to be the bad boy of the community. But with one master stroke, he is now the hero of everybody. He appears to be amiable, jolly good fellow, and very accommodating,” Duterte said.
“I hope he remains to be that way because nobody is really after him. Just a matter of historical divide which was created there… So I think that, to me, the man of the hour would be King Jong Un. And someday, if I get to meet him, I’d like to congratulate him,” he added.