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Philippines President boasts of killing criminals

President Rodrigo Duterte rubs shoulders with senator and champion boxer Manny Pacquiao on board a Philippine Airlines plane bound for Cambodia.
President Rodrigo Duterte rubs shoulders with senator and champion boxer Manny Pacquiao on board a Philippine Airlines plane bound for Cambodia. KING RODRIGUEZ / HANDOUT

PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted to personally killing suspected criminals while mayor of the country's third most populous city, Davao.

In a speech to business executives earlier this week, the man who likes his nickname Duterte Harry - after the Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry character - boasted of hunting down criminals himself.

"I must admit that a third of the killings happened during police encounters,” he said. "In Davao, I used to do it personally, just to show the guys that if I can do it, why can't you?

"I go around in Davao with a motorcycle ... I would just patrol the streets ... looking for trouble also. I was really looking for an encounter to be able to kill.”

Since Mr Duterte took office in June, almost 6000 deaths - including more than 2000 by police - have been linked to his drug war.

Amnesty International's director Rafendi Djamin said President Duterte's claims took the meaning of "state- sanctioned” violence to a whole new level.

"By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account,” Mr Djamin said.

"Statements like these continue to give everybody, including the police in the Philippines, a licence to kill in the knowledge they are protected by the President.”

Topics:  amnesty international philippines rodrigo duterte



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