Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has warned that the Philippines could see their credit rating downgraded as extrajudicial killings continue under President Rodrigo Duterte.
S&P has noted that Duterte's crackdown on drugs has allegedly led to "numerous instances of extrajudicial killings", which has raised questions over "respect for the rule of law and human rights". According to local police data, at least 2,000 people have died in drug-related killings since President Duterte came to power in May, half of which have taken place at the hands of unidentified gunmen.
"Combined with the president's policy pronouncements elsewhere on foreign policy and national security, we believe that the stability and predictability of his policymaking has diminished somewhat," a spokesperson for S&P said. "A higher rating is unlikely over our two-year ratings horizon."
The debt watcher agency confirmed that they would lower Philippines ratings "if the reform agenda stalls or if there is a reversal of the recent gains in the Philippines' fiscal or external positions". According to Forbes, the southeast Asian country's credit rating currently stands at BBB/A-2 with a stable outlook.
Duterte has since hit back at S&P, telling credit rating agencies to "leave the country". Last week, the President boasted that he could still go to China and Russia, where he believes they are waiting for him.
"The issue here is not my mouth," Duterte said, according to CBN News. "They are saying [my statements] may affect financial ratings and the economy. So be it, leave the country. Then we will start our own. I can go to China, I can go to Russia. I had a talk with them, they are waiting for me. So what the hell?"
Philippines' Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has also commented on the statement from S&P. He has reportedly met with representatives of S&P, as well as Fitch Ratings, to clarify the situation.
Dominguez told Forbes: "S&P told me they were worried over instability in policymaking, etc. I told them we are less than 90 days in office. I mean, where do you see any change in policy? There is no change, so how can they say that we are unstable?"