Rodrigo Duterte said he sang the ballad “upon the orders of the commander in chief of the United States.”
US President Donald Trump is currently traveling in Asia and meeting with foreign leaders in Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam. On Sunday, he arrived in the Philippines for the annual US-ASEAN Summit.
The summit opened Sunday night with a gala where President Donald Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and other foreign leaders were entertained by singers and dancers, and served a four-course Philippine-Asian fusion meal prepared by chef Jessie Sincioco.
Athit Perawongmetha / AP
The song, by Philippine pop star Yeng Constantino, came out in 2014, and its video has over 65 million views on YouTube.
His administration has said that those carrying out the killings have been acting in self-defense, but many have condemned the extrajudicial slayings as a major human rights violation.
When White House reporters traveling with Trump asked whether the issue of human rights had come up at a meeting between the two presidents Monday, both Trump and Duterte declined to respond.
"Whoa, whoa," Duterte said, according to a report from the White House press pool. "This not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting." Duterte then called the reporters "spies," which made Trump laugh.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later said that the subject of human rights briefly came up during Trump's meeting with Duterte in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs.