Rodrigo Duterte: Philippines mayor condemned by human rights groups says – 'don't vote for me, I kill too many people'

Davao City Mayor admits links to "death squads" who executed thousands of petty criminals in the 1990s

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A mayor in the Philippines has ruled himself out of the upcoming presidential election because he “does not want to kill anyone”.

Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of Davao City in the south of the country, has ruled out running in the contest in 2016, because he believes the “number of dead criminals” might increase if he was elected.

It came in response to a widespread clamour amongst his supporters in the city to run for president.

An estimated 5,000 people took part in a “Run Duterte” fun run in the city centre on Saturday, according to the Inquirer Mindanao newspaper.

In an interview with local TV channel Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa, Duterte said: “I do not covet the position. I do not want to be president. I do not want to kill people so do not elect me as president.”

He admitted he did have links to the local “death squads” who execute scores of criminals in the city during the late 1990s.

Police and government officials were believed to have taken part in the murder of 1,000 people associated with the city’s drug trade including street children and petty criminals.

In 2012, he was condemned by the New York based Human Rights Watch who said there was probable cause to indict him over it and have called on the Filipino people to reject someone involved in extrajudicial killings.

But he remained unapologetic: “To all the bleeding hearts of the US-based crime watch: you want a taste of justice, my style? Come to Davao City, Philippines, and do drugs in my city. I will execute you in public.”

He has boasted in the past of creating the safest city in the country by executing all the criminals.  

Duterte has recently been going on speaking tours in recent months to promote summary execution of drug offenders as an effective crime strategy.

Yet it seems he does not want to roll out the policy across the country. He warned the number of dead “would reach 50,000” if he was elected.

“I will kill all you making the life of the Filipino miserable”, he explained.