Philippines President Duterte admits personally killing suspected criminals

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted personally killing suspected criminals.

“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,” he told a group of business leaders at the presidential palace on Monday (local time).

“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.”

Mr Duterte has drawn worldwide outrage for human rights abuses following a crackdown on drug users and dealers, including the use of extrajudicial killings.

Since Mr Duterte took office on July 1, police say more than 2000 people have died in anti-narcotics police operations, with another 3000 deaths, caused by motorcycle-riding masked men and by vigilante groups, under investigation.

Mr Duterte’s policies have been strongly condemned by the UN, which wants to investigate.

In response, the Philippines has cancelled a trip next year by the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings to look into the rising death toll in its war on drugs, the country’s foreign minister says.

Perfecto Yasay said the UN could not pursue its investigation because special rapporteur Agnes Callamard had declined to accept the conditions set by the Philippines government.

“They cannot come,” Mr Yasay told reporters in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

“If they will not comply with the conditions of our president regarding their visit to the Philippines to validate their claims, then the trip will not push through. They cannot come here.”

Mr Yasay said there were no indications Ms Callamard would comply with Mr Duterte’s guidelines.

He did not say what the government’s guidelines were, although Mr Duterte has said he wanted to challenge the UN rapporteur to a public debate.

Last month, Ms Callamard wrote to the government, welcoming the Philippines’ invitation to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions due to the war on drugs. She had intended to visit during the first quarter of next year.

Mr Yasay said the government must be given the opportunity to question the rapporteurs because the Philippines had already been maligned by allegations of extrajudicial killings.

In its October letter inviting the UN rapporteur, the government said it was “entitled to know the motive for the investigation, and why the focus is on the Philippines, when there are other nations responsible for the death of innocent and defenceless individuals elsewhere in the world”.

Mr Duterte has lashed out at US President Barack Obama, the European Union and former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for criticising the government’s anti-drug campaign.

Reuters / Newshub.