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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he personally killed suspected drug traffickers during his two-decade tenure as mayor of the southern city of Davao.
Duterte made the admission Monday during a speech before a group of businessmen, boasting that he would ride around Davao on his motorcycle and “just patrol the streets… looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
The president said he would kill drug suspects just to show police “that if I can do it, why can’t you?”
Duterte’s shocking admission came amid defense of his all-out crackdown on suspected drug dealers since taking office in June. Nearly 6,000 people have been killed by police and vigilante squads during that time, drawing criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Duterte vowed to ignore the criticism and continue with the crackdown, and even dared his opponents to remove him from office.
“You arrest me, oust me? Go ahead. So, God said that you are mayor but you have given a mission to do something but it’s only up to them. So, fine. Oust me, good. Assassinate me, better. I have this migraine everyday,” Duterte said.