Philippine's Duterte lashes out at EU in profanity-laden rant

EU parliamentarians warned Duterte Philippines risked losing UN membership

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the European Union on Thursday after some of its lawmakers warned the Philippines it could lose its UN membership for his war on drugs.

A group of European parliamentarians and civil society groups came to the Philippines early this week to warn the country it risked losing trade privileges because of unchecked abuses by police during Duterte's signature campaign.

Duterte in a televised speech in Manila threatened the lawmakers to cut ties with the Philippines and have their ambassadors leave within 24 hours. He said his new alliances with Russia and China - UN Security Council permanent members - would keep the Philippines in the United Nations.

Duterte also read a memorandum that removes police from the drugs war and places the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in charge, before launching into a curse-laden tirade at foreign critics of a campaign that has killed thousands of Filipinos.

The administration said the shift was to target "big fish," moving away from street-level operations to go after big networks and suppliers.

Critics have said the drug war focuses on small-time dealers and users, and that the urban poor continue to bear the brunt of the 3,900 killings by police. Police say armed suspects resisted arrest in every one of those cases and they deny allegations victims were executed.

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