Duterte says God told him to stop swearing

MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to stop swearing, saying God spoke to him on a flight from Japan on Thursday, warning him the plane would crash if he kept using bad language.

The maverick former mayor, famous for profanity that has included outbursts aimed at The Pope and US President Barack Obama, said he heard a voice and realised it was God, telling him to clean up his act.

“I was looking at the skies while I was coming over here … everybody was asleep, snoring, but a voice said that, ‘you know, if you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now’,” Mr Duterte said at a news conference late on Thursday upon arrival in his home city of Davao.

“And I said, ‘who is this?’ So, of course, it’s God. OK.

“So, I promise God … not to express slang, cuss words and everything.”

Mr Duterte, a former outspoken city mayor, emerged as a brash, crass, alternative candidate in a May election which he won by a big margin, owing much to his earthy style and promises to tackle problems important to ordinary people, like drugs and crime.

Advice to act more presidential once he took office was not heeded for long, however, and he resumed his eruptions of profanity with gusto when he started hearing foreign criticism of his deadly drugs war.

He has called US President Barack Obama a “son of a bh” and chose the same words when criticising The Pope.

He told Mr Obama to “go to hell”, called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a “devil” and said “f..k you” twice to the European Union, while raising his middle finger.

In Tokyo on Tuesday, Mr Duterte used the same language when speaking about his anger with foreign criticism of his drug war.

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