MANILA - The new co-chair of President Rodrigo Duterte’s committee against illegal drugs welcomed his new designation Tuesday but not without fanfare—signing his acceptance letter with his own blood.
Dante Jimenez, who also leads Duterte’s anti-corruption commission, said the move shows his commitment to his new assignment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
“I sign this acceptance with my own blood, to represent the thousands of victims of illegal drugs, and as a manifestation of my commitment to the unrelenting war against this social menace that must be destroyed by all means,” Jimenez said during a press briefing in Malacañang.
An assistant then approached to make a small cut on his thumb for the blood signature.
Jimenez, founder of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, replaced Vice President Leni Robredo who held the ICAD post for only 18 days.
While he has yet to clarify his responsibilities as ICAD co-chair, Jimenez already warned police officers and government officials with ties to the narcotics trade.
“The ICAD will be able to come up with a strategy to make sure that you will be answerable to these gimmicks,” he said.
Once he meets with the President, Jimenez said he would urge Duterte to push for the reimposition of the death penalty for drug crimes as he argued that the policy would “institute fear.”
The President created the ICAD in March 2017 through an executive order to ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of "high-value drug personalities down to the street level peddlers and users."
Robredo had suggested transferring the leadership of the body to the Dangerous Drugs Board from the PDEA, explaining that the former is better equipped in crafting a more balanced approach against the country's narcotics problems.