Duterte: 'At the age of 16, I already killed someone'

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 11, 2017 at 9:06 AM
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Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech in Vietnam that he stabbed someone to death when he was 16.

"At the age of 16, I already killed someone," he told Philippine nationals in Danang on Thursday ahead the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. "A real person, a rumble, a stabbing. I was just 16 years old. It was just over a look. How much more now that I am president?"

Duterte, speaking in a mixture of Tagalog and English, said: "Jail? Jeez. When I was a teenager, I was in and out of jail."

His comments prompted laughter from the crowd.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippiness in a text: "I think it was in jest. The president uses colorful language when with Pinoys overseas."

The 72-year-old president said he still held same attitude as he did in his youth -- "even more so as president" of the country. "Never mind about the human rights advocates."

In a 2015 Esquire Philippines interview he said he stabbed someone to death when he was 17: "There was a tumultuous fight in the beach. We were young men then and we went to this beach and we were drinking and suddenly there was this ... maybe I stabbed somebody to death ... something like that."'

That was before Duerte became president.

Last year, he said killed suspected criminals in the southern city of Davao, where he served as mayor.

The controversial leader has waged a war on drugs in the Philippine since he took office in June 2016. Since then, police say they have killed almost 4,000 people in anti-drug operations and 2,000 others have been killed in connection with drug-related crimes.

On Monday Duterte is scheduled to formally meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Philippines to celebrate the 40th anniversary of of U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations relations. On Sunday, a dinner at the summit will mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the ASEAN.

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