Drug war is now ‘gov’t vs gov’t’ battle, says Duterte
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The drug war now becomes a battle of the “government versus the government.”
President Duterte on Sunday night said in a news conference that the illegal drug trade in the country is largely being “operated by people in government.”
“I did not have that idea that there were thousands of people in the drug business and worst is they are operated now by people in government,” Duterte said.
“So it (war on drugs) would be government versus government,” Duterte said.
Since July, over 700, 000 drug addicts had surrendered to authorities amid Duterte’s no-nonsense war on illegal drugs.
“So when I started to press everybody, it was like a worm out of a can and no one could have believed that there would be about 700,000 new guys, maybe in the drug business that have surrendered to the police and the military,” he said.
The President said even the lowest government units have been infested with the narcotics trade.
“And that’s why i joined the call for the postponement of the barangay elections,” he said.
“But the problem is, it was a headline, ‘I can’t kill them all.’ Because even if I want it to, I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick and prominent really are barangay captains,” he said.
(The President was referring to the “I can’t kill them all” top story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.)
In his third and final list, at least 1,000 government officials were linked to the illegal drug trade that include barangay captains.
Postpone barangay elections
Duterte said he was in favor of postponing the barangay elections because drug money would be used for the village electoral exercise.
“If you hold the elections now, drug money is still going around and the barangay captains, most of them are really into it, they would just stay in power and this time they have the money and they win and so [we] will have narcopolitics in the lowest government unit which is the barangay and that would be the start of our, maybe our perdition and agony,” he said.
The President said he would remove policemen as bodyguards of village chiefs.
“… I will not allow any policemen to act as bodyguard of a barangay captain,” he said.
If barangay captains are afraid of his security, Duterte advised them to find another job.
“If you think you are afraid of being killed—if you are there in the rural areas where the NPAs [are active]… then do not run for public office; find another occupation,” he said.
With the gravity of the drug problem in the country, Duterte has asked for an extension on his “self-imposed” deadline to solve drugs and criminality.
“We are (rotting) with so many problem—kidnapping in the south, terrorism drugs, which is really pulling us down and I can say that we would need time to put everything in order,” he said.
“Just give me a little extension of maybe of another six months,” he added.
Stopping crime and criminality in three to six months was Duterte’s major campaign promise last May.
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