'Shoot me': Duterte not interested in overstaying term

Bangkok: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed soldiers and police to shoot him if he prolongs his stay in office when he term in office ends in 2022, in the latest of a long list of outlandish and crude remarks.

"If I wanted to overstay and become a dictator, shoot me, I am not joking," Duterte told soldiers at an army base.

"It is your job to protect the constitution and to protect the people. Remember it is your solemn duty."

Since running for office in 2016 Duterte has sought to portray himself as the voice of the people and guardian of the nation.

Polls show almost two thirds of Filipinos still approve of his presidency.

The remarks came after Duterte's allies in Congress raised the possibility of extending the President's term as part of a transition to a federal system of government.

Critics said the move was aimed at seeking a way for the 72-year-old former provincial mayor to cling to the high office.

Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque has previously hinted the President would prefer to retire earlier than 2022, amid concerns about his health.

Under the constitution Duterte's term ends in June 2022 and he cannot be re-elected.

Lawmakers drew up the constitution following the decades-long rule of Ferdinand Marcos, the corrupt dictator ousted in a 1986 people-powered revolution.

Duterte is close to members of the Marcos family.

Many of his more controversial comments since taking office have been seen as and effort to portray himself as a tough guy and the country's final hope and saviour.

More than 14,000 mostly poor Filipinos have been killed in a deadly crackdown on drugs, after he predicted that fish in Manila Bay would grow fat from the bodies of drug traffickers and users.

He provoked global outrage when he compared the drugs crackdown to the Holocaust.

ThePresident has called former US president Barack Obama the "son of a whore", described the European Union as hypocrites, joked about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary and bragged about being a womaniser who takes Viagra.

This story 'Shoot me': Duterte not interested in overstaying term first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.