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Philippine leader: I will shoot criminals myself

Mr Duterte vowed that 100,000 people would die in his crackdown on drugs
Image: Mr Duterte vowed that 100,000 people would die in his crackdown on drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would be willing to shoot criminals himself after reining back the police’s powers.

Since Mr Duterte took office in June 2016, more than 7,000 people have been killed in a brutal crackdown on illegal substances, with the leader saying he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts.

Amid claims of human rights abuses by the country’s police, Mr Duterte put the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in charge of his anti-drug war on 11 October.

However, the 72-year-old has offered to kill criminals himself as he threatened to hand powers back over to the police.

President Rodrigo Duterte
Image: President Duterte fires a sniper rifle towards militants in Marawi City

He said: “Those who rape children, who rape women… if you don’t want the police, I am here now.

“I will shoot them. That’s true! If nobody would dare it, I will pull the trigger.”

Referring to the police, he added: “Let us see, six months from now. If things get worse again, I will say to these apes: ‘Go back to this job. You solve this problem of ours.'”

PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold Carreon conceded that the agency was ill-equipped and could be ordered to stand down.

He said: “If the President so decides, we will welcome that. We are strained. Definitely it will be an uphill climb.”

During his presidential campaign, Mr Duterte vowed that 100,000 people would die in his crackdown on drugs.

Protesters burn a cube effigy with a face of President Rodrigo Duterte during a National Day of Protest in metro Manila, Philippines
Image: Demonstrators burn an effigy of Mr Duterte during a day of protest on 21 September

He later said that he used to patrol the streets with police and blindly fire at suspected criminals during his 20 years as mayor of Davao.

Since the start of Mr Duterte’s crackdown, Philippine police have reported killing more than 3,900 “drug personalities” and claim that another 2,290 died in unsolved “drug-related” killings.

Authorities insist police only kill in self defence, but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say officers are carrying out extrajudicial killings.

Last month, Mr Duterte’s son Paolo appeared before a senate inquiry to deny accusations he was part of a Chinese triad involved in smuggling crystal meth into the Philippines from China.

President Duterte said he told police to kill his son if the allegations are proved right.

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