Dec 15, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on Wednesday bragged about personally murdering suspected criminals when he was mayor of Davao city.
"In Davao, I used to do it personally. Just to show the guys that, if I can do it, why can't you?" Duterte told a group of business leaders in Manila, according toCNN.
"And [I'd] go around Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble also," Duterte added. "I was really looking for an encounter so I could kill."
Duterte has been called the "death squad mayor of Davao," and over 1,000 people were murdered during his long tenure. Duterte served as mayor from 1988 to 1998, and again from 2001-2010. His daughter was mayor from 2010-2013, until Duterte took over the role again from 2013-2016.
He has called to "slaughter them all," referring to anyone involved in the drug trade, and vowed to kill 100,000 people when he was campaigning for president.
As promised, Duterte took his death squad ethos to the presidency, launching a ruthless regime of police-led extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and drug users throughout the island nation after taking office on June 30.
Since June, police alone have killed about 2,000 people, and as vigilantes have joined in the mass killings, the total death toll of Duterte's "war on drugs" is close to 6,000.
Philippines senators are calling for impeachment in response to Duterte's admission of responsibility for extrajudicial killings, Reuters reports:
Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the president's admission could be a ground for impeachment.
"That is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution," de Lima told CNN on Thursday.
Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the senate justice committee, also said Duterte opened himself to possible impeachment proceedings following his controversial comments.
"When he says that, he's opening himself up, so what's the legal way, then go ahead and impeach him," he told reporters, adding he was not surprised by the statement.
The U.S. has also suspended an aid package to the Philippines over Duterte's rights abuses, it was reported Thursday.
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