Duterte: I killed someone at 16, what more now that I'm president?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 10) - President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he has killed someone when he was a teenager, as he threatened those involved in illegal drugs.

If he can kill a person when he was just 16 years old, there would probably be little to deter him now that he was president, he said.

"At the age of 16, may pinatay na ako eh. Tao talaga. Rumble. Saksak. Noon 16 years old 'yun. Nagkatinginan lang. Eh lalo na ngayon Presidente ako," Duterte said Thursday in a speech in Da Nang to the Filipino community.

[Translation: At the age of 16, I have already killed someone. A person. It was a rumble. I stabbed him. We just looked at each other. What more now that I'm President.]

Drugs users perpetuate crimes while they're high on illegal substances, said the President.

Duterte also warned those who commit crimes against Filipinos.

"You f*** with my countrymen, hindi kita palulusutin. Bahala na kayong human rights. Ang akin is the larger issue of -- Mabuti na nga ito pinatay na't wala na silang problema," he said.

[Translation: If you mess with my countrymen, I will not let it go. Who cares about human rights. My issue is, at least we've killed them so we lessen our problem.]

"Papatayin talaga kita. 'Yan ang totoo. Let it be announced to the world," he said.

[Translation: I will really kill you. That is the truth. Let it be announced to the world.]

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque came to Duterte's defense of Duterte.

"I think it was in jest. The President uses colorful language when with Pinoys overseas," he said on Friday.

This is not the first time Duterte admitted to resorting to violence. In April, Duterte, who admitted he was a "bully," said he shot a San Beda valedictorian.

Since his campaign for the presidency until he assumed office in July 2016, Duterte has been known for his brash and controversial remarks against critics of his drug war. Despite the flak over such statements and the drug war, the President's popularity and Filipinos' satisfaction with his leadership remain high.

His war against drugs in the country has earned criticism from human rights advocates over alleged extrajudicial killings arising from the campaign.

Over 3,900 drug suspects were killed in police operations since the start of the bloody drug war in July 2016, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Local and international human rights groups, however, pegged the number of drug-related killings at around 13,000.

'No cure' for drug addiction

Duterte believes there is no way to rehabilitate the majority of millions of Filipino drug addicts, saying there is "no cure" for addiction.

"Habang buhay na 'yan. Ang sliding rate, ang mag-slide public? In a scale of one to 10, ang eight babalik talaga 'yan. No more cure 'yan," he said.

[Translation: That will stay for life. The sliding rate of drug addicts out of 10, eight will go back to using drugs. There is no more cure.]

Dangerous Drugs Board Chief Dionisio Santiago resigned on November 7 upon Duterte's orders. The president admitted he was offended by Santiago for saying the mega-drug rehab center in Nueva Ecija was a "miscalculation."

Santiago has also pushed for smaller, community-based facilities that were closer to municipalities.

Newly-appointed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the P185 billion mega-drug rehabilitation center shows Duterte's balanced approach to the drug war.

In June 2017, the Philippine Information Agency reported that the government facilitated 1.3 million surrenders from drug users and personalities.

The number of drug users in the Philippines is unclear. A 2015 study by the DDB reported 1.8 million drug users, but Duterte has claimed as many as four million. In a previous interview with The Source, Santiago said his initial peg of three million users was a "guesstimate."