‘It’s the fentanyl,’ Marcos says after former president Duterte tags him ‘drug addict’ | Inquirer News

‘It’s the fentanyl,’ Marcos says after former president Duterte tags him ‘drug addict’

/ 05:15 AM January 30, 2024

Marcos Duterte“I think it’s the fentanyl” speaking.

This was what President Marcos said in an ambush interview on Monday after his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, on Sunday night called him “a drug addict president.”

The Dutertes staged a rally in their hometown, Davao City, on Sunday against Charter change, the political agenda being pushed by the President’s congressional allies to amend the Constitution. The event was timed with the “Bagong Pilipinas” rally in Manila led by Mr. Marcos.


While Duterte’s son, Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, called for the President’s resignation, describing Mr. Marcos as “lazy and [lacking in] compassion,” the former president, on the other hand, warned his successor that he might meet the same fate as his father, who was overthrown by a popular uprising.


The older Duterte also claimed that Mr. Marcos was a “drug addict then and a drug addict now as president,” adding that the President used to be on the watch list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“You in the military, you know that for a fact, especially those of you assigned in Malacañang. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, you know this. We have a drug addict president, son of a bitch,” Duterte said.

‘Abusing the drug’

During the 2022 presidential campaign, Duterte, then the outgoing president, had claimed that one of the candidates was taking drugs. Mr. Marcos, after that, released a medical certification indicating no trace of drug abuse from his examination.

Interviewed by reporters before leaving for a state visit in Vietnam, the President said his predecessor’s dependence on the analgesic drug fentanyl must be “affect[ing]” him by now.

“Fentanyl is the strongest pain killer that you can buy,” Mr. Marcos said. “It is highly addictive and it has very serious side effects. And PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) has been taking the drug for a very long time now. When was the last time he told us that he was taking fentanyl? [About] five, six years ago, something like that. After five, six years, it has to affect [him]. [That’s why he’s like that.] I hope his doctors take better care of him.”

Duterte previously admitted that he had been taking the drug due to pain in his spine caused by a motorcycle accident years ago.


Fentanyl is a highly potent and addictive synthetic opioid analgesic. It relieves pain and induces euphoric sensations, nausea, sedation, dizziness, and breathing problems.

Duterte said he had been warned by his doctor that he was already “abusing the drug” and could lose his cognitive ability.

He was advised to take just a quarter dose, but he would take two pills a day to ease the pain in his spine. His partner, Honeylet Avanceña, a former nurse, had suggested that he use fentanyl patches to treat the pain.

Mr. Marcos was also asked if he would categorically deny that he’s involved in drugs, as Duterte had claimed. He laughed off the question and said, “I won’t even dignify” it.


PDEA, meanwhile, was prompted by Duterte’s remarks to issue a statement on Monday saying that Mr. Marcos was never on its watch list.

The agency also disputed the former president’s claim that when he was Davao mayor, he was shown a list by PDEA that included Mr. Marcos’ name.

“From [PDEA’s] inception in 2002 and up to the present, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was NEVER (emphasis by the agency) in our NDIS,” PDEA said, referring to the National Drug Information System, an intelligence database listing drug personalities in the country.

PDEA added that “when the former president took over in 2016, his administration came out with a list, which was then initially called the ‘narco-list, sometimes referred to as the Duterte list,’ and upon continuing validation and revalidation, it became the Inter-Agency Drug Information Database or IDID. The name of President Marcos is also not [on] the said list.”

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“Based on all the foregoing facts, PDEA asserts that President Marcos Jr. is not and was never [on] its watch list,” reiterated the agency. —WITH REPORTS FROM FRANCES MANGOSING AND INQUIRER RESEARCH INQ


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