Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte: God told me to stop swearing

Story highlights

Duterte has infamously called President Obama a "son of a bitch"

He's got a long history of colorful language

CNN —  

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his – ahem – colorful language, swears he’s going to stop swearing.

The inspiration for cleaning up his vocabulary came from God himself, Duterte said, as he was flying back to the Philippines from a state visit to Japan.

“Everybody was asleep, snoring, but a voice said… ‘If you don’t stop (cursing), I will bring this plane down now.’ And I said, ‘Who is this?’ So, of course, it’s God,” the President recounted after he landed Thursday at Davao International Airport.

Duterte likens himself to Hitler

“So I promised God not to express slang, cuss words and everything,” said Duterte – who recently questioned the existence of God – adding that a “promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”

When those in attendance for his arrival speech began to applaud his declaration, he stopped them.

“Don’t applaud too much, I might fail,” he said.

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Duterte’s vernacular has grabbed global headlines for its lack of, well, decorum.

He infamously called both President Barack Obama and Pope Francis a “son of a bitch,” declared that the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines was a “gay son of a bitch” – adding that the ambassador had “pissed him off” – and told the European Union to “f*ck off,” accompanied by the universally understood hand gesture.

After cursing Obama, Duterte expresses regret

Now the question is… how long can he keep his promise, dammit?

CNN’s Kathy Quiano and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.