A French newspaper has tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as a "serial killer" as hundreds of drug suspects have been killed in his war against drugs.
The four-page article, with a banner headline "Rodrigo Duterte, the serial killer president," mentioned the Davao Death Squad, which allegedly helped Duterte rid Davao City of rebels.
The article also quoted unnamed sources as saying that Duterte is also labeled locally as the "Little king of the poor."
The French paper's article came amid Duterte's continued tirades against the United States, European Union and the United Nations.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the French paper's "serial killer" tag was irresponsible.
"The comment is irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding of local conditions," Abella said.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, declined to comment on the French paper's article.
He said he has not read the article.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) reported last October 6 that a total of 1,390 drug suspects have been killed in police operations since Duterte launched the war on drugs last July 1.
It also reported that a totla of 22,971 drug suspects have been arrested and 734,231 confessed pushers and users have surrendered.
In an earlier report, the PNP said a total of 1,745 killings suspected of being carried out by vigilantes have been recorded from July 1 to September 29.
Police death squads?
Last October 4, The Guardian published an article where an unidentified policeman claimed he was part of a death squad formed to hunt down and kill drug personalities.
The article was titled "Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings."
In the article, the policeman claimed he is part of one of 10 police death squads.
The article said each special operations team has 16 members.
In a recenty interview, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa denied the existence of the alleged police death squad.
"For the record, I vehemently deny such information of a hit squad. Kailangan pa ba natin mag-hit squad na puwede mo namang gamitin ang regular performance duties ng isang ordinarsyong pulis para diyan sa drugs," Dela Rosa said.
He said that the alleged policeman in the story may be involved in drugs.
"I don't think a senior official in his right mind will accuse his organization of forming such illegal groups," he added.
Dela Rosa also said that the alleged policeman's story could be a "hoax."?