Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized "profoundly and deeply" to the Jewish community on Sunday, and said his references to the Holocaust while discussing his war on drugs were to hit back at critics who had likened him to Adolf Hitler, according to Reuters.
Duterte said he recognized the comments made in the early hours of Friday
had caused outrage among Jewish communities around the world, but he insisted his mention of the Nazi leader was to show how opponents had sought to portray him."I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered,"
he said in a speech at a festival carried live on television."The reference to me was, I was supposedly Hitler, who killed many people,"
he added."I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community ... it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me,"
Duterte said, offering his apology.
Duterte has been nicknamed "the Punisher"
for his tough stance on crime as more than 3,100 people have been killed during his “war on drugs”
. He said on Friday he had been portrayed by critics as being "a cousin of Hitler"
and said he would "be happy to slaughter"
three million Filipino drug users and peddlers.
President's spokesman on Saturday said Duterte should not be compared to Adolf Hitler, and his reference to the Holocaust was an "oblique deflection"
of claims he is a mass murderer.
Duterte's comments on Friday that he wished to kill millions of drug dealers as part of his anti-narcotics war, and those he made about the deaths of millions of Jews, were "two entirely different things"
, Ernesto Abella said in one of two statements, which stopped short of an apology."The president's reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, a label he rejects,"
Abella said."He likewise draws an oblique conclusion, that while the Holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the future generations of Jews, the so-called 'extra-judicial killings', wrongly attributed to him, will nevertheless result in the salvation of the next generation of Filipinos,"