Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte: Public 'can kill' criminals

Philippines president-elect Duterte hosts victory party
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Philippines president-elect Duterte hosts victory party 03:07

Story highlights

  • Duterte said he wants to give carte blanche to citizens to kill criminals who threaten them
  • He has a long history of controversial comments and ideas

(CNN)Philippines president-elect Rodrigo Duterte effectively said he supports vigilantism in a nationally-televised speech.

Faced with criminals who resist arrest or threaten citizens, the controversial politician suggested that it was fine for citizens to take the law into their own hands.
    "If he fights, and he fights to the death, you can kill him," said the former mayor of Davao City, who was elected to the presidency in a decisive victory last month.
    During the address, Duterte also encouraged citizens to use deadly force against drug dealers who threaten them.
    Tough-talking Duterte, popular and polarizing
    Tough-talking Duterte, popular and polarizing

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    Tough-talking Duterte, popular and polarizing 00:59
    "Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun ... you have my support," he told the crowd and television cameras.
    "Shoot him [the drug dealer] and I'll give you a medal."

    Bounty offered

    Earlier in the month, Duterte put bounty of up to 3 million Philippine pesos ($65,000) on drug lords -- which he upped to five million pesos ($108,000) in his most recent speech.
    "I'm not saying that you kill them, but the order is 'dead or alive,'" he said.
    With less than a month left before he assumes office, Duterte said he will take a tough stance on corrupt cops.
    "[To] all police who have cases and are wanted now, if you are still involved in drugs, I will kill you," he said, according to a CNN Philippines translation. "Don't take this as a joke. I'm not making you laugh. Son of a bitch, I will kill you."
    He also demanded the resignation of three police generals, but refused to state their names publicly.
    "Do not wait for me to name you in public because I will only humiliate you," he said.

    Extrajudicial killings advocated

    Last month, he said he wants to empower security forces to "shoot to kill" anyone that resists arrest.
    He has previously suggested that he himself pulled the trigger on suspects in a kidnapping case while he was mayor of Davao.
    Allegations also surfaced that he was connected to extrajudicial killings by a well-coordinated group of vigilantes, earning him the moniker "The Punisher" by Time Magazine.
    Duterte himself confirmed the claims during a live TV show broadcast locally in the Philippines last year.
    "Me? They are saying that I'm part of a death squad? True, that's true," he said.
    The controversial figure also reiterated his views on capital punishment Sunday at a news conference, saying "if there is no fear in the law or attached to the law ... it's useless."
    "What I would do is urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging, especially if you use drugs," he said according to CNN Philippines.

    Journalist deaths dismissed

    Duterte also implied last month that some journalists killed on the job in the Philippines may have been corrupt and deserved death.
    "Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch," Duterte said.
    "Freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong," he added.
    The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) was quick to blast the leader for his "appalling" comments.
    Ahead of his election, he was an outspoken and unapologetic candidate who, more often than not, refused to distance himself from controversy.
    During the race he had refused to apologize following the emergence of controversial comments on gang rape.
    A YouTube video appeared during the campaign showing Duterte joking about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary that took place in Davao City.
    "I was angry she was raped, yes that was one thing. But she was so beautiful, I think the mayor should have been first. What a waste," he said, according to a CNN Philippines translation of the comments.