The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed to the BBC that he shot dead three men while mayor of Davao.
He said: “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.”
His statement came hours after his spokesman denied that Mr Duterte had personally killed anyone.
The recent controversy began on Wednesday at the president’s palace.
He told a group of business leaders gathered there: “In Davao I used to do it [kill] personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can’t you.
“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
Mr Duterte was mayor of the southern city for two decades, during which time he earned a reputation for brutally suppressing crime, and was accused of sponsoring death squads.