A former Filipino militiaman testified before the country's Senate that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still a city mayor, ordered him and other members of a liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.

Edgar Matobato, 57, told the nationally televised Senate committee hearing that he heard Duterte order some of the killings and acknowledged he himself carried out some of the abductions and deadly assaults, including a man who they fed to a crocodile in 2007 in southern Davao city.

There was no immediate reaction from Duterte, who has denied any role in extra-judicial killings of criminals when he was the longtime mayor of Davao and after he assumed the presidency in June.