Duterte says he killed suspects
Philippine President would go around in Davao on motorcycle looking for trouble
MANILA The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte has said he personally killed suspected criminals when he was mayor of the southern city of Davao for nearly two decades, to set an example for the police.
Mr Duterte made the comments in a speech late on Monday night to businessmen as he discussed his campaign to eradicate illegal drugs.
The campaign has seen police and unknown assailants kill thousands of people since he became president on June 30.
He said in a speech at the presidential palace: "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, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also.
"I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill."
Mr Duterte also responded to criticism from human rights groups and US President Barack Obama about his brutal anti-crime tactics, vowing to continue his crackdown.
He said in English: "If they say that I am afraid to stop (the campaign) because of the human rights and guys... including Mr Obama, sorry, I am not about to do that."
Rights groups have previously accused Mr Duterte of running vigilante death squads in Davao that killed more than 1,000 suspected criminals.
Similarly, Mr Duterte as president has called on ordinary Filipinos as well as security forces to kill drug users and traffickers.
But he has also said that he and his security forces would not break the law.
In October, he compared himself to Adolf Hitler and said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.
He later apologised for the Hitler reference but said he was "emphatic" about wanting to kill the millions of addicts.
Since his election, police have reported killing 2,086 people in anti-drug operations.
Mr Duterte will arrive in Singapore today for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement yesterday.
Today he will attend an official welcome ceremony at the Istana, followed by a call on Dr Tan and a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Dr Tan will also host a State Banquet in honour of Mr Duterte.
Mr Duterte will meet Singapore business leaders and the Filipino community the next day. He will also visit Singapore Botanic Gardens where an orchid will be named in his honour, the statement said.- AFP, THE STRAITS TIMES