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Philippine president-elect vows to reintroduce capital punishment

Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his central campaign pledge to reintroduce capital punishment. The penalty would be enforced for a wide range of crimes including drugs, rape, murder and robbery.

Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of the southern city of Davao, said his campaign threats to kill were "not rhetoric" during his first press conference since winning the May 9 election in a landslide.

"Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. I will kill you. No middle ground," he said Sunday. "As long as the requirements of the law are there, if you try to evade arrest, refuse arrest [...] and you put up a good fight or resist violently, I will say: 'Kill them'."

The centerpiece of Duterte's successful recent election campaign strategy was a vow to end crime within three to six months after being elected. At one point during the campaign, he vowed to kill tens of thousands criminals and have their bodies dumped in Manila Bay so that the fish would grow fat from feeding on them.

His pledge proved popular with voters, fed up with rampant crime and graft.

Capital punishment in the Philippines was abolished in 2006 under former President Gloria Arroyo.

'Shoot to kill'

The death penalty would be reintroduced for a wide range of crimes, particularly related to drugs, but also rape, murder and robbery. Preferred methods of execution would be hanging or by firing squad.

"What I will do is urge Congress to restore [the] death penalty by hanging," said Duterte. "If you resist, show violent resistance, my order to police [will be] to shoot to kill. Shoot to kill for organized crime. You heard that? Shoot to kill for every organized crime," he said.

Military ''sharp shooters," he said, would be enlisted in his campaign to kill criminals.

The 71-year-old Duterte - who is due to be sworn into office on June 30 for a six-year term - also said he would introduce a 2 a.m. curfew on drinking in public places and ban children from walking on the streets alone late at night. Their parents would be arrested and thrown into jail for "abandonment", he added.

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jbh/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

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