In his latest controversial statement, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his bloody anti-drug war that has killed thousands, threatened to throw corrupt officials out of a helicopter, saying he has done it before, to a kidnapper, and won’t hesitate to do so again.
“I will pick you up in a helicopter to Manila, and I will throw you out on the way,” Duterte said in Tagalog in front of a crowd in the Camarines Sur province Tuesday, according to GMA News. “I’ve done it before. Why would I not do it again?”
The Filipino president was visiting areas of the province in the northern island of Luzon that were recently affected by the deadly Typhoon Nock-Ten, locally known as Nina. The storm, one of the strongest since Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines’ Visayas region in 2013, killed at least six people and displaced hundreds of thousands, according to the Philippine Star.
In his speech, Duterte announced that he was going to give up to 100 million pesos in financial assistance, in addition to 1 billion pesos that was set aside for calamities, the Philippine Star reported.
After that announcement, he went on to talk about his campaign against drugs and corruption.
The former mayor and prosecutor, who rose to power on a promise to uproot his country’s drug problem, has become famous for his brash talks and public outbursts.
He made headlines in April, when he was campaigning for the presidency, for making a joke about an Australian minister who was gang-raped and killed in 1989 in a Davao prison. At that time, Duterte was mayor of the southern city of Davao.
In August, he warned terrorists that he can be “10 times” more brutal than the Islamic State.
Most recently, Duterte admitted that he had personally killed people. He told a local radio station last month that he killed several criminals during his time as mayor. He specifically talked about killing three men who kidnapped and raped a Chinese girl in 1988, when he was only a few months into his term. He said that during the encounter, the men were holding carbines and didn’t raise their hands when they were told, so he shot them.
Vitaliano Aguirre II, Duterte’s justice secretary, cautioned that the president is prone to hyperbole and exaggeration, according to ABS-CBN News.
Following Duterte’s claims, the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urged the Philippines’ judicial branch to launch a murder investigation.
“It should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted being a killer,” Zeid said in a statement, adding, “The killings described by President Duterte also violate international law, including the right to life, freedom from violence and force, due process and fair trail, equal protection before the law, and innocence until proven guilty.”
Zeid also addressed Duterte’s anti-drug war, saying it has emboldened law enforcement to commit violence without accountability and is a “direct violation of all democratic safeguards that have been established to uphold justice and the rule of law.”
More than 6,000 have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Some were killed during encounters with police who were acting under the government’s orders, while others were killed by unknown vigilantes.
Duterte defended his anti-drug campaign in an October interview with Al Jazeera.
Killing criminals, he said, is not a crime.
“It could not be negligence, because you have to save your life. It could not be recklessness, because you have to defend yourself,” he said.
His goal, he said, is to eradicate his country’s massive drug problems “to preserve the interest of the next generation.”
“If you destroy my country, I’ll kill you. That’s a legitimate thing,” Duterte said. “If you destroy our young children, I will kill you. That is a very correct statement.”
An earlier version of this post said Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2014. It was 2013. The post has been corrected.
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