Philippines' Duterte vows hangings in war on crime


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Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment


Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to introduce executions by hanging and order military snipers to kill suspected criminals as part of a ruthless law-and-order crackdown.
In his first press conference since winning the May 9 elections in a landslide, the tough-talking mayor of southern Davao city said late on Sunday security forces would be given "shoot-to-kill" orders and that citizens would learn to fear the law.
"I expect you to obey the laws so there will be no chaos. I will hit hard on drugs and I promise them (criminals) hell," Duterte said in wide-ranging comments to reporters at a Davao hotel on his vision for the nation once he is sworn into office on June 30.
Duterte also vowed to roll out Davao law-and-order measures on a nationwide basis, including a 2:00am curfew on drinking in public places and a ban on children walking on the streets alone late at night. Smoking in restaurants and hotels will also be banned.
Duterte said a central part of his war on crime would be to bring back the death penalty, which was abolished under then-president Gloria Arroyo in 2006.
"What I will do is urge Congress to restore (the) death penalty by hanging," said Duterte, 71.
Duterte said he wanted capital punishment reintroduced for a wide range of crimes, particularly drugs, but also rape, murder and robbery.
He said he preferred death by hanging to a firing squad because he did not want to waste bullets, and because he believed snapping the spine with a noose was more humane.
The centrepiece of Duterte's stunningly successful election campaign strategy was a pledge to end crime within three to six months of being elected.
Shoot to kill
Duterte vowed during the campaign to kill tens of thousands criminals, outraging his critics but hypnotising tens of millions of Filipinos fed up with rampant crime and graft.
He said on one occasion that 100,000 people would die, and so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that the fish would grow fat from feeding on them.
Duterte said Sunday his "shoot-to-kill" orders would be given for those involved in organised criminals or who resisted arrest.
"If you resist, show violent resistance, my order to police (will be) to shoot to kill. Shoot to kill for organised crime. You heard that? Shoot to kill for every organised crime," he said.
Duterte said the military as well as the police would be used in his war on crime.
"I need the military to pitch. I need military officers who are sharp-shooters and snipers. It's true. If you (criminals) fight, I will have a sniper shoot you," he said.
On his ban on children walking alone late at night, Duterte warned the parents of repeat offenders would be arrested and thrown into jail for "abandonment".
The current president, Benigno Aquino, warned repeatedly during the election campaign that Duterte was a dictator in the making and would bring terror to the nation.
However his preferred successor, Mar Roxas, an establishment politician who promised to continue Aquino's slow but steady macroeconomic reforms, ended in a distant second place.
Death squad fears
Duterte has been accused of running vigilante death squads during his more than two decades as mayor of Davao, a city of about two million people that he says he has turned into one of the nations safest.
Rights groups say the squads -- made up of police, hired assassins and ex-communist rebels -- have killed more than 1,000 people.
They say children and petty criminals were among the victims.
Duterte boasted on one occasion during the campaign of being behind the squads, saying they killed 1,700 people. But other times he denied any involvement.
Duterte also made international headlines for constant use of vulgar language, including on one occasion branding the pope a "son of a whore".
After scorching criticism in the mainly Catholic nation, Duterte sent a letter of apology to Pope Francis.
He also said he would visit the Vatican to make a personal apology, but on Sunday reneged on that pledge.
"No more. That's enough," Duterte said when asked about the planned trip, pointing out he had already sent the letter.
He said the trip "could be an exercise in duplicity", as he complained that some Church leaders in the Philippines indicated he may not have been forgiven.
Duterte was raised a Catholic.
But among his closest advisers is Apollo Quiboloy, leader of the Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ religious group who calls himself "the Appointed Son of God".

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