Philippines: Duterte to face impeachment after 'personal killing' claim?

The Philippine senators say this admission as a president has left Duterte open to impeachment.

Philippine President Duterte apologises to Jews for Hitler remark
Philippines President Duterte gestures while delivering a speech before female police officers during a gathering in Davao city, Philippines September 30, 2016 Reuters

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte admitted to personally killing suspected criminals during his tenure as the mayor of Davao City, leaving himself open to the critics' questions over his suitability for office.

Duterte told a gathering of business executives at the Wallace Business Forum in Manila that he used to hunt down criminals himself to set an example for the society. "In Davao, I used to do it personally. Just to show the guys that, if I can do it, why can't you?" Duterte said.

"And (I'd) go around Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble also. I was really looking for an encounter so I could kill," he added.

The 72-year-old former provincial mayor has repeatedly said the drug suspects were only killed under his anti-drug crackdown as mayor. But, now this admission as a president has left him open to impeachment, according to the Philippine senators.

"That is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution," Leila de Limam, a staunch critic of Duterte, told ABC News.

Amnesty International said in a statement that such remarks by Duterte will incite policemen and civilians towards violence and encourage them to commit extrajudicial killings.

"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," said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty's director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

Ever since Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs corpses have been piling up in cities all over the country. The crackdown has been linked to nearly 5,900 deaths in less than six months.