MANILA, Oct. 28 (UPI) — Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his profanity-laced diatribes against heads of church and state, said Friday he promised God he will stop cursing.
“So, I promise God,” he said to a group of reporters, “Not [to] express slang, cuss words and everything. So you guys hear me right always because [a] promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”
Duterte’s loose tongue has rocked the predominantly Catholic country, but his approval rating remains high. He has famously cursed both Pope Francis and President Barack Obama using a slang term that translates as “son of a whore.”
In September, he denounced the European Union in derogatory terms, and used the middle finger, after it questioned his war on drugs, which calls for suspected drug dealers and users to be shot on sight. Since Duterte took office, some 4,000 Filipinos have been killed by police and vigilantes.
A recent poll shows three-quarters of Filipinos approve of the job Duterte has done in his first 90 days in office.
Human Rights Watch’s Andrew Stroehlein said Duterte needs to take his pledge further than to just stop cursing.
“Philippine prez Duterte says god told him to stop swearing,” he said on Twitter. “Did god mention the death squads?”