Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned President #Obama not to criticize him about the alleged extra-judicial killings of 2,000 people in the Philippines drug trade. Duterte referred to President Obama as a “son of a bitch” in his native Tagalog. Obama canceled a meeting with Duterte in Laos. Is a personal insult the reason for the cancellation, or is it that Duterte mentioned US colonialism in the Philippines?

The United States invasion of the Philippines

The Filipino war for independence against the Spanish began in 1896. The United States briefly allied with a Filipino revolutionary leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. The United States had an ulterior motive. Acquiring territory from Spain in the Spanish-American War. The 1898 Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish-American War. The United States acquired the Pacific possessions of Spain - The Philippines. The Filipino people would not trade one colonial master for another. They never acknowledged that Spain's possession of their homeland was legitimate. The Philippine's declared its independence in 1898. Neither the United States nor Spain recognized it. Thus began the Philippine-American War.

The United States and the Filipino genocide

From 1899 to 1913 the United States killed 400 thousand Filipino insurrectos and one million Filipino civilians in mass killings and scorched earth campaigns. One-sixth of the total population was annihilated. America's brutal colonial war of genocide in the Philippines is unknown to most. The United States promised Filipino independence under President Woodrow Wilson, but progress stopped with the Japanese invasion in World War II. For a time, the Filipino people were again under a colonial master. Without the Japanese invasion, and their eventual defeat by the United States, it is unlikely that the Philippines would enjoy its independence today. Considering this brutal colonial #history, is it any surprise that Duterte will not take criticism from the United States? Many Filipino scholars assert that the United States has never acknowledged the Filipino genocide, or made any reparations to the Filipino people for the illegal foreign occupation of their territory. This tragic history makes Duterte neither innocent nor guilty of the crimes his administration allegedly committed. Only criminal due process in an international criminal tribunal and judgment by a jury of his peers would do so should evidence sufficient for indictment arise.

Duterte asserted his right as the leader of a sovereign state saying that his only masters are the Filipino people. Some might argue that Duterte, as a head of state, if he wishes his country to be a member of the international society of states, must abide by the norms of international law. Certainly, if the allegations of mass extra-judicial murder of drug pushers are true then Duterte is in violation of international law regarding the human rights of his country's own citizens, criminals or not. President Obama asserted the need for due process and adhering to international norms in fighting the drug trade.

What about the need for due process and international norms when the United States invaded the Philippines? Granted, the UN Charter was not ratified until after World War II, but this does not mean that the genocidal colonial war of the Philippine's was legal, even under the international law of the day. No person responsible for the Filipino genocide was ever brought to justice. Furthermore, what about due process and international norms in the fight against international terrorism? Surely the world has not forgotten that several terror suspects, including American citizens, have been extra-judicially killed without due process in drone strikes under Obama's administration. While Duterte might be a thug of the worst variety, how can the President of the United States assert that another head of state must abide by international legal norms when his own country consistently does not? Due process - does it still exist? #World Politics