The president of the Philippines has revealed he personally killed suspected criminals when he was mayor.
“In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys (police) that if I can do it, why can’t you,” President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech at the presidential palace Monday, according to AFP.
“I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill,” he added.
Duterte admitted Tuesday in Cambodia that he used to ride around with police and blindly fire off shots at criminal suspects. “I (would) sometimes go along with them. If you say I shot someone, maybe I did. I was closing my eyes,” Duterte said.
The Philippine president’s comments echo a 2015 admission that he killed three men suspected of murder and rape in his hometown of Davao, BBC reports.
As mayor, Duterte reportedly ran death squads that killed over 1,000 people.
Since Duterte took office on June 30, thousands of Filipinos have perished in a brutal shoot-to-kill drug war. The number of deaths varies by report but could be as high as 6,000.
Many of the deaths are suspected to be the results of extrajudicial killings carried out by the police or vigilantes with the president’s approval.
Before the Monday speech, Duterte delivered another speech in which he argued that he is not a “killer,” the Inquirer revealed.
“I am not a killer. I do not relish or enjoy [seeing] a Filipino sprawled there with all the blood,” Duterte said, “I do not want you to die, that is not my order.”
“Even if Congress would give me a carpet authority to kill everybody, I won’t have the time nor the bullets to do it.”
“Every time I decide on things to buy guns and bullets, there is always in my mind that these things would be used against the Filipinos…I don’t enjoy it,” he explained.
Before taking office, Duterte vowed to murder tens of thousands of drug dealers. After becoming president, he suggested that he would like to massacre drug criminals like Hitler did the Jews.
Duterte’s drug war and his alleged support of the extrajudicial killings have drawn fire from the United Nations, certain Western countries, and human rights organizations.
“Sorry, I am not about to do that,” Duterte said, responding to calls for him to end his bloody campaign.
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