Miss Philippines Imelda Bautista Schweighart has apologized after she caught the ire of netizens when she likened President Rodrigo Duterte to dictator Adolf Hitler.
“Guys, I’m a Duterte follower. The people who talk to me everyday knows how delightful I am to see and experience the change he has made happen so far. I am half German that is the reason why I talked to a fellow delegate about ‘Hitler’ so casually who is Austrian,” said Schweighart, in a statement at the sidelines of the press presentation for the candidates of the 2016 Miss Earth beauty pageant at a hotel in Manila last Tuesday.
“Because all my life I am always teased by fellow Filipinos as ‘Hitler’ because they are not well informed that Hitler was not German. In fact Hitler was Austrian. So, when I saw my fellow delegate i made a soft joke about it out of my excitement;”
“I am an extremist so forgive me my fellow Filipinos and Duterte supporters if you didn’t understand how I am. I got that idea wherein i said, ‘Duterte is doing Hitler stuff’ from online news, newspapers with headlines saying he is Hitler-like but for the good;”
“I was just not able to explain what i really meant further in Facebook live because my mind was occupied with the other delegates i want to capture on my Facebook Live cover. That is what i meant. Hope you appreciate me explaining myself so that you understand more. Peace,” said Schweighart.
Lorraine Schuck, Executive Vice President, Carousel Productions which organizes the annual environment-driven pageant, defended the Filipino-German beauty queen against bashers.
“This is a free country and we are living in a democratic nation. She’s innocent and I think it was not intentional,” Schuck said.
Reigning Miss Earth Angelia Ong of the Philippines also advised Schweighart to ignore the bashers and focus on the pageant.
Last Monday, Schweighart asked Miss Earth Austria 2016 Kimberly Budinsky in a video if Hitler came from her country.
“Okay, that’s a bad question because we normally don’t talk about Hitler. But, yeah, he is,” said Budinsky.
“Oh my God! Our President is doing Hitler stuff here in the Philippines,” Schweighart answered.
“That’s crazy,” Budinsky said.
Schweighart then deleted the video after it drew criticisms from netizens for her reckless comments.
Duterte has said in a speech that he would be happy to kill three million drug addicts. He compared his system of death to Hitler’s slaughter of millions of Jews.
Jewish groups and international organizations have expressed outrage to the statement of Duterte. Later, the President apologized to the Jewish community.
The grand coronation night of the 2016 Miss Earth beauty pageant will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on October 29.