MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will “think about resignation” if he will not be able to control narcotics in the Philippines.
“I cannot accept. I simply cannot accept it. And if I cannot control drugs, then maybe it is time for me to think about resignation,” Duterte said in a speech in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.
“‘Pag hindi ko kaya ito, bababa talaga ako. Sabihin ko sa inyo.”
Duterte had promised to solve the country’s drug problem within 3 to 6 months when he assumed power in mid-2016. He, however, later dropped this target, saying he only realized the magnitude of the drug problem when he became president.
Duterte has been criticized here and abroad for his war on drugs, where over 3,900 have been killed in presumed-legitimate police operations since July 1, 2016, according to police statistics.
Officials said slain drug suspects had put up violent resistance. The administration has also repeatedly asserted that it does not sanction summary killings nor condone police abuses.
Duterte talked about a possible resignation and also announced he would soon put the police back at the forefront of the war on drugs, over a month after assigning the task to the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“I have not yet signed the executive order, but I’m inclined to call back the police and join again in the drug war,” Duterte said in a speech in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.
Duterte’s plan, however, has been criticized by human rights groups and opposition lawmakers, saying the issues hounding the police force’s enforcement of the anti-illegal drugs campaign have yet to be resolved.