International media groups are condemning recent remarks by Philippine's incoming president defending the killing of journalists in the Pacific archipelago.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte told reporters during press conference Tuesday that many journalists have been killed because they are corrupt, and warned that others could be assassinated."
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, with nearly 200 reporters killed over the last two decades.
The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement Wednesday saying Duterte's comments "apparently excusing extrajudicial killings threaten to make the Philippines into a killing field for journalists."
The 71-year-old Duterte, who served two decades as mayor of the southern city of Davao, won last month's presidential election with with bombastic, profanity-laced promises to stamp out crime and corruption, including pledges to kill criminals — drawing obvious comparisons to Donald Trump, the billionaire U.S. real estate mogul and presumptive Republican presidential party nominee.
His comments earned him support among long-suffering Philippine voters frustrated with poverty and inequality, as well as accusations from human rights groups that he ordered hundreds of extrajudicial killings while mayor of Davao.
Duterte has also drawn scorn over boasts about his sexual escapades and vulgar comments about women. He said during the campaign that he wished he had been first in line in the gang rape of an Australian missionary killed during a Davao jail riot in 1989.
During Tuesday's press conference, Duterte whistled at a female reporter in a sexually explicit manner.