‘Going on for a long time:’ Duterte admits to EJKs in Davao City

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that there have been extrajudicial killings in Davao City for a long time.

Duterte said this as he explained how his hometown transformed into the city that it is today.

“Davao is in the forefront and only because we decided nga gisabot ko ninyo. Kay niadto pa man nang extrajudicial killing [that you have to understand me because extrajudicial killing has been going on for a long time,]” he said during the miting de avance of his local political party, Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod last Friday.

Duterte said only Davaoeños understand why the killings had to happen.

Ang wa makaantos nganha, dili ang mga taga-Davao, mga pari, kay nakasabot sila. Kung dili, katong mga obispo nga naa sa mga elitista sa Manila,” he said.

[Translation: The people who can’t stomach it are not from Davao because those who are from Davao would understand. But the ones who can’t understand are the bishops and the elitists in Manila.]

Duterte said in September that his only sin are extrajudicial killings.

The government has repeatedly denied that it has sanctioned or supports extrajudicial killings in relation to its campaign against illegal drugs. Human rights groups differ, saying the war on drugs has resulted in tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings.

In November, three policemen were convicted for murdering 17-year-old student Kian delos Santos during a drug sting.

As Davao City mayor, Duterte faced a probe by the Commission on Human Rights, then led by now-detained Senator Leila de Lima, for his alleged use of hitmen in his campaign against criminality.

Duterte is facing a preliminary examination for alleged crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court in connection with his deadly drug war, which has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 suspected drug personalities, according to government figures.

While there is no clear-cut definition of extrajudicial killings, Malacañang in October 2017 said it still follows the operational guidelines of Administrative Order No. 35, which created an inter-agency committee on extralegal killings in 2012.

Under this order, a killing is considered extrajudicial when "the victim was targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession."

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.