Senators: Duterte’s Murder Boasts Are Grounds for Removal

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is at risk of impeachment after admitting to “personally” killing alleged criminals during his tenure as Davao City mayor. Two of the nation’s senators say his admission is grounds, legally and ethically, for removal from office. In a speech this week, Duterte said he used to cruise the streets on his motorcycle “looking for trouble.” He told reporters: “I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police officers] that if I can do it, why can’t you.” He added, “I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.” Senator Leila de Lima called the comments a “betrayal of public trust” and said his behavior “constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution.” Senator Richard Gordon, head of the senate justice committee, noted, “When he says that, he’s opening himself up, so what’s the legal way, then go ahead and impeach him.” As part of his extrajudicial anti-drug campaign, the firebrand president has encouraged police—as well as citizen vigilantes—to kill upwards of 5,000 people in the country since he began his term in June.