Manila, Sep 28 (IANS) Amnesty International on Friday condemned an admission by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that extrajudicial killings have occurred during his term in office.
Duterte acknowledged for the first time on Thursday the killings during his administration´s war on drugs campaign in which over 4,800 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed, calling them “my only sin”, reports Efe news.
Amnesty International said in a statement that “this apparent admission by the President himself highlights the urgent need for international investigations into the thousands of killings and other human rights violations committed in the name of the government’s war on drugs”.
The President’s spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday that Duterte was being “playful” and his comments “should not be taken literally”.
The International Court of Justice is currently examining two criminal complaints against the Philippine president.
The so-called “war on drugs” started on July 1, 2016, the day Duterte took office, and authorised the police to freely shoot any suspect resisting arrest.
According to official data from the Anti-Drug Agency of the Philippines, a total of 4,854 suspects have been killed in police raids and 155,193 others arrested in a total of 108,058 anti-drug operations throughout the country.
Human rights organisations have put the death toll from Duterte´s anti-narcotic crackdown at 15,000.
Duterte was accused in the past of using death squads during his time as Mayor of the southern city of Davao in the Mindanao region where he served for seven non-consecutive terms totalling over 22 years.
In his speech on Thursday night, the President said that the anti-drug trafficking operations will continue until his presidential term concludes in 2020.