Mr Duterte says fighting crime and corruption is his top priority
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to throw corrupt officials from helicopters mid-air, saying he has done it before.
“If you are corrupt, I will fetch you using a helicopter to Manila and I will throw you out,” said Mr Duterte, who is waging war on corruption and drugs.
It’s the latest claim by the president that he has personally carried out extra-judicial killings.
His spokesman played down the remarks, which he described as “urban legend”.
Earlier this month another spokesman Martin Andanar said his blunt-speaking boss should be taken “seriously but not literally” when he said he had shot dead three men while mayor of Davao.
Mr Duterte made his latest comments in a speech to victims of a typhoon in the central Philippines on Tuesday. A video clip of his remarks was posted by his office.
He threatened the helicopter punishment for anyone who might steal the financial aid he was promising.
“I have done this before, why would I not do it again?” he said to applause.
He suggested his victim or victims were kidnappers who had murdered a hostage. It is not clear when or where the incident took place.
On Thursday, the president appeared to distance himself from his earlier remarks.
“Helicopter to throw a person? And if that is true, I will not admit it,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN news.
The president has made a similar claims in the past – and has a history of contradicting himself.
On 16 December he told the BBC he had shot dead three criminal suspects while he was mayor of Davao.
“I killed about three of them… I don’t know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies. It happened and I cannot lie about it.”
He made a similar claim to business leaders in Manila a few days earlier, when he said he used to cruise Davao on a motorbike “looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
Mr Duterte was mayor of the southern city of Davao for two decades, presiding over a big fall in crime but also being accused of sponsoring death squads.
As president he has pledged to root out drugs and corruption in the Philippines, at the cost of millions of lives if necessary.
Nearly 6,000 people are said to have been killed by police, vigilantes and mercenaries in the Philippines since Mr Duterte launched a war on drugs after being elected in May.
Opposition politicians and human rights groups have called for his impeachment, but he remains very popular with voters who want him to clean up the country.
Last week the Philippines independent human rights watchdog said it would investigate President Duterte’s claims that he personally killed drug suspects.