PRESIDENTIAL candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was declared the standard bearer of the PDP Laban Monday, after boasting of killing criminals and even cursing the Pope for causing traffic in Metro Manila.
In a rambling, obscenity-filled speech at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, Duterte said he would take a zero-tolerance approach to crime and admitted personally killing criminals.
“It’s true, I don’t deny that,” he said.
Duterte bragged about killing a group of kidnappers and then burning their bodies during his time as mayor, but did not provide details.
“I really finished them. This was a good killing,” he told a cheering crowd.
The mayor even lashed out at Pope Francis, blaming him for causing traffic jams in the capital of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation when he visited in January.
“Pope, you son of a -----, why don’t you go home,” he said.
In a report earlier this year, Human Rights Watch said Duterte’s so-called “Davao Death Squad” had killed more than 1,000 people during his tenure as mayor of the city.
“It’s bad enough that the government has failed to end impunity for these killings or investigate Duterte and similar mayors—it’s doubly upsetting that he is exploiting this politically,” HRW’s Philippine representative Carlos Conde said in a statement.
Duterte has served as mayor on and off since he was first elected in 1998.
He is one of several candidates vying to succeed President Benigno Aquino III, whose single six-year term ends next year.
At the PDP-Laban event Monday, Duterte also endorsed several candidates for senator, including Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, boxer and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, ACT party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao; Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, former Senator Panfilo Lacson; former Rep. Miguel Zubiri; former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino; and overseas workers advocate Susan Tolentino, as part of his 12-person slate.
“I am one with Mayor Duterte in pushing transparency and accountability in public service that truly cares and genuinely serves the poorest of the poor,” Romualdez said.
On Sunday night, Duterte told reporters that the killing of some 1,000 criminals, many of them involved in the illegal drug trade, made Davao the fourth safest city in the world.
“Extrajudicial killings? I won’t exactly admit extrajudicial killings, but killings yes. Women, yes,” Duterte said.
In May, Duterte admitted his links to the Davao Death Squad, which was allegedly responsible for the summary execution of up to 1,000 criminals in the city.
He said he would kill “up to 100,000 criminals” if he is elected president.
Duterte also admitted he was a womanizer.
“That’s correct. I have a wife. I have a second wife,” Duterte said in his speech Sunday.
“I have two girlfriends. You want me for president? You need to know who I really am,” he said.
Duterte said he would not give up his worldly pleasures because he is running for president.
“That’s my happiness. If you don’t want me as president because I have four or five women, then vote for one of the other candidates,” he said.