Philippine President Rodrigo "The Punisher" Duterte has been labelled a "psychopath" and a "serial killer" by critics as the death toll in his murderous drugs crackdown hurtles towards 4000.

Actress Agot Isidro has sparked a national debate on the state of Duterte's mental health after urging the 71-year-old to seek psychiatric treatment in a Facebook post that has been shared nearly 11,000 times and received more than 28,000 "likes".

"I know a psychiatrist. Get yourself checked. You're not bipolar, You're a psychopath," Isidro wrote after a week which saw Duterte call Barack Obama the "son of a whore", embrace comparisons to Hilter and dare the world to withdraw foreign aid "crumbs" allocated to his nation.

Protesters hold placards in a candlelit protest against the extrajudicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's
Protesters hold placards in a candlelit protest against the extrajudicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's "War on Drugs". Photo / AP

"No one's trying to fight you. As a matter of fact, you're the one who's picking a fight," she continued.

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"The country where you are elected as President by 16 million out of 100+ million is Third World. You talk as if the Philippines is a superpower. Excuse me, we don't want to go hungry. If you want, you do it yourself. Leave us out of it. So many people have nothing to eat, and yet you'll starve us even further."

Isidro's reference to bipolar disorder stemmed from a May press conference in which Duterte jokingly told reporters not to believe his "preposterous statements" because he was bipolar.

However, the surging death toll from his ongoing war on drugs is no laughing matter, with more than 3600 people killed by vigilantes and police since his government came to power.

Relatives and friends grieve at the funeral of an alleged drug suspect Robert Manuel Jr. Photo / AP
Relatives and friends grieve at the funeral of an alleged drug suspect Robert Manuel Jr. Photo / AP

Isidro's post prompted an explosion of comments from politicians, fellow celebrities and ordinary citizens, many of them supportive, others not so much.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that while the actress was entitled to her own opinion, "we need to really hear what the president is calling on Filipinos to do, which is be free from dependence on foreign aid, which is what the lady is fearful we will lose.

"The president is calling for Filipinos to be truly independent economically and mentally and psychologically," Abella said, according to the Philippine Inquirer.

Meanwhile, French daily Liberation has described Duterte as a "serial killer" in a front-page story detailing the vigilante killings allegedly carried out at his behest during three decades in politics.

Filipino men have plastic zip ties on their wrists following a police raid at an alleged drug den. Photo / AP
Filipino men have plastic zip ties on their wrists following a police raid at an alleged drug den. Photo / AP

Human rights groups have claimed hundreds, possibly thousands, of drug addicts and dealers were murdered by Duterte's notorious Death Squads during his 20-year reign as mayor of Davao.

More than 3600 people have been killed, including 1700 in police shootouts, since Duterte took office on June 30 as part of his brutal crackdown on drugs, a campaign that has earned him both international condemnation and praise at home.

Duterte was elected in May on the promise of preventing the Philippines from becoming a "narco-state" and vowed to kill those involved in importing or selling illegal drugs.

Filipino men wait with their hands over their heads as they are rounded up during a police operation as part of the continuing
Filipino men wait with their hands over their heads as they are rounded up during a police operation as part of the continuing "War on Drugs". Photo / AP

In his victory speech, he called on the public to shoot anyone they suspected of taking or dealing drugs.

He incurred the wrath of anti-Semitic groups last week by comparing his murderous campaign to the Holocaust, stating: "Hitler massacred three million Jews ... there's three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them".

The Philippine president has also launched a series of tirades against the US, the European Union, and the United Nations for calling him out on alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

Policemen patrol around a slum area during a police operation as part of the continuing
Policemen patrol around a slum area during a police operation as part of the continuing "War on Drugs". Photo / AP

Despite this, Duterte continues to enjoy an envious approval rating. Last month a poll by the independent Social Weather Stations showed 84 per cent of adult Filipinos were satisfied with his war on drugs.

However, 94 per cent felt it was important for police to arrest suspects alive, underscoring public worry over the growing body count in country long accustomed to deadly violence.

Filipino children watch as arrested drug suspects, not shown, wait outside an alleged drug den following a raid where two suspects were killed and about 90 people arrested. Photo / AP
Filipino children watch as arrested drug suspects, not shown, wait outside an alleged drug den following a raid where two suspects were killed and about 90 people arrested. Photo / AP

So far police have carried out more than 23,500 raids and arrested 22,500 suspected drug dealers and addicts.

Police have "visited" more than 1.6 million homes inhabited by suspected drug addicts to invite them to stop using drugs, or disengage from the drug trade in an operation known as "Oplan Tokhang". A further 732,000 addicts and dealers have surrendered for fear of being killed, resulting in massive overcrowding in jails.