'I will eat his liver': Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's most controversial comments of 2017

Key Points
  • This year saw more explosive comments from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
  • So far, he's admitted to killings and made death threats to European officials

Since coming to power in June of last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has become one of Asia's most controversial leaders for his strongman politics and inflammatory statements.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Erik De Castro | Reuters

From admitting to killing people to joking about rape, the 72 year-old's explosive comments have made headlines around the world and earned him comparisons to President Donald Trump.

In response, his administration insists that the leader's statements should be taken with a pinch of salt, with the president himself even admitting that "only two out of my five statements are true." Still, critics frequently attack Duterte for what they deem unpresidential behavior.

The majority of his comments are made in Tagalog, but they are often translated into English by Philippine media.

Here are a few of his most incendiary comments and claims from 2017.

He said he stabbed someone to death

"At the age of 16, I already killed someone. A real person, a rumble, a stabbing. I was just 16 years old. It was just over a look. How much more now that I am president?" Duterte said on Nov. 9 in Vietnam, Agence France-Presse reported.

It's not the first time the leader has admitted to killing. In April last year, Duterte told Esquire magazine that he "maybe" stabbed someone to death when he was 17 years old — possibly the same incident the president was referring to in Vietnam. In the Esquire interview, he added that he has never killed an innocent person.

In December last year, he declared that he had personally shot dead criminal suspects during his time as Davao City mayor.

He threatened to hang EU officials

In response to human rights concerns expressed by The European Union over Manila's anti-drug campaign, Duterte threatened to hang officials opposed to his policies.

Will Trump and Duterte find a way forward on the South China Sea?
Will Trump and Duterte find a way forward on the South China Sea?

In remarks directed to EU authorities, the president said: "I will just be happy to hang you. If I have the preference, I'll hang all of you ... You are putting us down. You are exerting pressure in every country with the death penalty."

He wants to 'eat' terrorists

Following a foiled attack in the tourist region of Bohol by local terror network Abu Sayyaf, the president had a cannibalistic response to the militants, saying that he would eat a terrorist if one were captured alive.

"Give me salt and vinegar. I will eat his liver," Duterte said on April 24 according to multiple reports.

His administration has been increasingly cracking down on Abu Sayyaf in recent months.

He jokes about rape

During a May speech to troops in Mindanao — a region placed under martial law amid militant activities — Duterte said he would take full responsibility for potential crimes committed by soldiers during the period of military rule, including rape.

"For this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible. Just do your work. I will handle the rest," he said on May 27. "I will be imprisoned for you. If you rape three [women], I will say that I did it."

Will Duterte succeed in his war on drugs?
Will Duterte succeed in his war on drugs?

The president later said he had been joking.

During a presidential debate on April 2016, Duterte joked about Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who was raped and killed in 1989 while working in a prison in the city of Davao, where Duterte was previously mayor.

"Why did I get angry — because she was raped? Yes, that's part of the reason, but also because she was so beautiful and the mayor should have been first," Duterte said, according to the Associated Press.

He the Catholic Church is 'full of s___'

In January, the outspoken president lashed out at Philippine leaders of the Catholic Church in response to their concerns of alleged extrajudicial killings in Manila's drug war.

In a speech on Jan. 21, Durterte said church leaders were "full of s___" and that they "all smell bad, corruption and all," accusing priests of homosexuality and abusing children.

His criticism came shortly after Pope Francis offered a blessing to Durterte.

He wants to wage war against communists

Since 1968, the Philippine government has battled with a coalition of communist parties that oppose foreign ownership of Philippine resources and seek a release of political prisoners. One of the factions is the New People's Army, an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines that has a history of assassinations, kidnappings and attacks.

Peace talks to end the long-running violence have been on and off for decades, but Duterte says he is done talking. He's decided to cut talks with the group and advocates full-blown war instead.

"I am no longer available for any official talk. Let's just go to war," the leader said on Nov. 21. "I have to build a strong army."