Responding to claims made by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he “personally” killed suspected criminals while serving as mayor of the city of Davao, Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said:
“President Duterte’s claim that he has personally killed suspected criminals takes the meaning of “state-sanctioned” violence to a whole new level. The climate of impunity in the Philippines has intensified even further since President Duterte began his brutal crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers in July, with a wave of unlawful killings claiming more than 5,000 lives across the country. By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account.
“President Duterte should be fulfilling his obligations by ordering investigations into these killings and bringing those responsible to justice, not claiming a part in them. Statements like these continue to give everybody, including the police in the Philippines a licence to kill in the knowledge that they are protected by the president.
“We are urging President Duterte to put an immediate end to unlawful killings, and send a clear message that the unlawful use of force is not encouraged. The Philippines authorities must step off the bloody path they have set out on, and fulfil their duty to protect all people by ending incitement to violence.”