Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has reportedly said that he personally killed suspected criminals when he was the mayor of a southern city. Duterte said that he did so to set an example for the police in the nation.
Duterte confessed to the killings in a speech discussing his infamous anti-drug campaign in the nation to eradicate drug peddling and use of illegal drugs.
Duterte has been embroiled in controversies ever since he took the Philippines' presidential seat in June. He has encouraged citizens in Philippines to bring drug peddlers to justice in the country as part of his crackdown on suspected drug dealers and users.
According to reports, over 2,800 people have been killed in this crackdown so far.
While talking about police killing crime suspects during his speech on Monday, Duterte said that while he was the mayor of Davao, he had led similar efforts to punish the suspects. Duterte was Davao mayor for almost 20 years before winning the presidential seat.
"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," Duterte said in his speech at the presidential palace.
Responding to criticism against his tactics in the anti-drug war from human rights group and US President Barack Obama, Duterte said that he was not intimidated by their criticism and will continue to do what he is doing. "Sorry, I am not about to do (stop) that," he said.
Duterte in his speech also joked that he would go on missions with the police in Davao and open fire at suspects, "I (would) sometimes go along with them. If you say I shot someone, maybe I did. I was closing my eyes because I am scared of firing a gun," he added.
Duterte's anti-drug campaign has been widely criticised by various countries and global rights organisations, including the United States, the United Nations and the European Union. The rights organisations have deemed the killings in Philippines under the anti-drug campaigns as extrajudicial killings.