MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged it could be "hubris" that motivated him to promise to end in three to six months the problem of illegal narcotics in the country.
Duterte, who is set to finish his term in less than three months, said he was wrong to have underestimated the country’s problem with illegal drugs, alleging he was then unaware of the involvement of some members of the Philippine National Police's top leadership in the narcotics trade.
“Sinasabi ko I can clean it in six months. Then after that, I realized na nagkamali talaga ako … Maybe it’s hubris. It was campaign time. Payabangan naman ’yang kampanya,” Duterte said during the inauguration of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu on Wednesday.
“Eh pagdating ko sa Maynila, dala-dala ko 'yung chief of police ko, iyang si Bato (Ronald dela Rosa) ... Six generals of the PNP were playing with drugs. Sabi ko, 'Paano tayo mabubuhay nito?' " the president added, referring to then PNP chief Dela Rosa, who is now a senator.
Despite his misgivings and even with his term coming to an end, Duterte continued to warn those involved in illegal drugs.
“Itapon mo 'yan at wala ka talagang problema sa akin. Ngayon, hindi na ako Presidente in a few days. But if you continue to f*** the Filipino, I might find a way really to just ... No quarters given, no quarters asked,” he said.
Duterte, who is currently facing allegations of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court for the thousands of deaths under his administration’s bloody war on drugs, earlier said that he wants his successor to have the same ferocity as he did in fighting against the scourge of illegal narcotics.
Local and international human rights advocates have denounced his violent drug war, wherein authorities said 6,200 individuals have been killed for resisting arrest.
However, experts said 12,000 to 30,000 civilians, including children caught in the crossfire, have died in the Duterte administration's anti-narcotics operations.