Updated 12:29 PM PHT Thu, December 15, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A human rights group slammed President Rodrigo Duterte's admission he killed suspected criminals when he was Davao City mayor.
In a statement, Amnesty International said the President's pronouncement could lead to mass 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," Amnesty International's Director for South East Asia and the Pacific Rafendi Djamin.
Duterte said in a business forum on Monday he killed suspected criminals, but he did not kill people and hogtie them.
"In Davao, I used to do it personally, just to show to the guys that if I can do it, why can't you. And I go around Davao with a motorcycle — with the big bike — and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble also. Talagang naghanap ako ng engkuwentro para makapatay (I was on the hunt to kill)," he said.
Djamin said the President should instead have the killings investigated.
"Statements like these continue to give everybody, including the police in the Philippines a license to kill in the knowledge that they are protected by the president," he added.
The Philippine National Police has recorded 2,102 drug personalities killed, as of December 14. There are also 3,994 deaths still under investigation, as of December 12.
Amnesty International urged Duterte to send a message to the police and the public that the unlawful use of force is not encouraged.
"The Philippines authorities must step off the bloody path they have set out on, and fulfill their duty to protect all people by ending incitement to violence."
Duterte said he will not stop the fight against the illegal drug trade despite allegations of human rights violations by local and international groups.