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Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has revealed he personally killed criminal suspects as mayor of Davao.

It is the first such admission Rodrigo Duterte has made since becoming president in June, but echoes comments he made in 2015.

Rodrigo Duterte ran Davao for two decades, earning a reputation for cutting crime, and criticism for allegedly supporting death squads.

He was speaking to business leaders at the presidential palace on December 12, before an overseas trip.

It is the latest in a series of controversial comments by Filipino president.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte said during the meeting: “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.

“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”

In 2015, he admitted killing at least three men suspected of kidnapping and rape in Davao.

Rodrigo Duterte’s comments have been condemned by human rights group Amnesty International, which has called on him to put an immediate end to the killings.

Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International director for South East Asia and the Pacific said: “The climate of impunity in the Philippines has intensified even further since President Duterte began his brutal crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers in July, with a wave of unlawful killings claiming more than 5,000 lives across the country.

“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.”

Just hours before Rodrigo Duterte’s latest remarks, he insisted “I am not a killer”, in a speech for The Outstanding Filipino Awards 2016. He has also previously both acknowledged and denied being involved with death squads.

In September a Senate inquiry heard testimony from a self-confessed former death squad member that Rodrigo Duterte had, while serving as Davao mayor, shot dead a justice department agent with an Uzi submachine gun.

Nearly 6,000 people are said to have been killed by police, vigilantes and mercenaries since Rodrigo Duterte launched his drug war after being elected in May.

Rodrigo Duterte has expressed few regrets about the policy, once saying: “Hitler massacred three million Jews… There’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Some human rights lawyers believe Rodrigo Duterte’s open support for a shoot-to-kill policy by the police could make him vulnerable to prosecution for crimes against humanity at the international court.


According to a former death squad member, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the murder of political opponents while mayor of Davao.

During a Senate hearing, Edgar Matobato revealed he and others killed about 1,000 people over a 25-year period.

Edgar Matobato, 57, gave gruesome details of gangland-style hits, including feeding one victim to a crocodile.

Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman rejected the allegations, saying investigations into his time as mayor had gone nowhere.Digong Duterte wins Philippines presidency

Edgar Matobato said he was a member of the Davao Death Squad, a notorious vigilante group allegedly responsible for hundreds of killings.

He said: “Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers.”

Edgar Matobato also claimed that Rodrigo Duterte’s opponents were targeted too, including four bodyguards of a local rival for mayor, Prospero Nograles.

Victims would be shot or strangled, he said, with some disemboweled and dumped into the sea so fish could eat them.

He told the Senate panel he went from a witness protection program into hiding when Rodrigo Duterte became president, fearing for his life.

Edgar Matobato also alleged Rodrigo Duterte ordered the bombing of a mosque in retaliation for an attack on Davao Cathedral in 1993.

On this claim Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman, Martin Andanar, said: “I don’t think he is capable of giving those orders.”

Martin Andanar said the country’s Commission on Human Rights had failed to even prove the existence of the Davao Death Squad.

Prospero Nograles’ son Karlo, a Davao city representative, denied Eduardo Matobato’s account relating to his father’s bodyguards.

“I don’t know what this guy is talking about.

“I can only suspect that this guy is being manipulated by some people to only serve their own selfish interests,” Karlo Nograles wrote on Facebook.

The woman leading the Senate inquiry into extra-judicial killings, Leila de Lima, is a strong critic of Rodrigo Duterte and has been accused by him of having links to the illegal drug trade, something she denies.

Rodrigo Duterte became mayor of Davao in 1988, and his tough stance saw crime rates plummet, an approach he has vowed to replicate at national level.

Since his election this year more than 3,000 drug users and dealers have been killed amid international alarm over human rights violations.

Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed concerns over his drugs policies, calling UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “a fool” and insulting President Barack Obama as, something he later said he regretted.