DURING a state visit to Vietnam, firebrand Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has bragged that he had killed somebody when he was just 16 years old.
“When I was a teenager, I had been in and out of jail, rumble here and there,” said Duterte last week while talking to the Filipino community, as quoted by the New York Times.
“At the age of 16, I already killed someone.”
Stating that he had stabbed the victim over “just an exchange of dirty looks”, Duterte urged his audience to imagine what he could do as president. The comments were made on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang.
Duterte admits killing person when he was a child, says he has no problem doing it again now that he’s president.
Translation: “At the age of 16, I killed somebody. I stabbed him. Only because our eyes met. How much more now that I’m the president?” https://t.co/2Rd4tGf0y5
— Carlos H. Conde (@condeHRW) November 10, 2017
Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque subsequently claimed that the president was perhaps only using “hyperbole”.
“I think it was just in jest,” said Roque as quoted by Filipino newspaper the Inquirer. He said Duterte “uses colourful language when with Pinoys overseas.”
Duterte has previously bragged about personally killing drug dealers when he was the mayor of Davao City. He once told Esquire magazine that he had murdered somebody when he was 17.
As president, he has presided over a bloody war on drugs which has been criticised widely by human rights groups internationally.
At least 7,000 people have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte took power last June according to official police statistics, with some rights groups estimating the figure is more like 13,000.
Last week, Duterte offered to host a “world summit” on human rights in the Philippines.