MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine justice secretary says President Rodrigo Duterte often exaggerates killings of criminals he supposedly carried out to send a chilling warning to lawbreakers.
Vitaliano Aguirre II told reporters Wednesday that Duterte may have been resorting to hyperbole when he suggested in a recent speech that he used to go around his southern city as mayor on a big motorcycle to look for criminals to kill so policemen would emulate him.
Aguirre said the president often uses hyperbole to put his message across.
Duterte, who took office in June, has been the target of criticism for his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs, which has led to the deaths of more than 2,000 drug suspects in gunbattles with police. About 3,000 other drug-related killings are being investigated by authorities.