MANILA, April 28 (UPI) -- Rodrigo Duterte, the front-runner in the Philippines' presidential election, said he would pardon himself and the death squads he led that allegedly killed 1,700 people.
Duterte, who is leading polls with about 35 percent of support, made the comments during an hour-and-a-half-long speech to the Makati Business Club in Manila. His closest opponent has 24 percent of support in polls.
"I will issue 1,000 pardons a day," Duterte said. "Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte."
Duterte, 71, who served as the mayor of Davao City, has run on an anti-crime platform that appeals to the country's upper and middle classes who fear rising criminality. He said he would establish a ruthless administration that would eradicate crime syndicates in the first six months of his tenure. He warned he would authorize security agencies to kill hundreds of criminals and that he would allow the execution of criminals, adding that he would pardon himself and his executioners after.
Although the business crowd gathered to hear about Duterte's economic strategy, they were treated to a wide arrangement of unrelated topics. Elections for the six-year presidency are scheduled for May 9.
"I was separated from my wife. I'm not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever?" Duterte said about his image as a womanizer. "When I take Viagra, it stands up."
Duterte said he has two mistresses, but also said they don't cost him much -- adding he keeps them in cheap boarding houses and travels with them to low-cost hotels for sex.
The Philippine presidential front-runner, who has been mayor for more than 22 years, recently made a much-condemned comment about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary.
"I saw her face and I thought, 'Son of a bitch. What a pity ... they raped her, they all lined up.' I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first," Duterte said. "This one, she is so beautiful, she looks like an actress ... They did it ahead of me, kill them all."