MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte urged his successor to exert "stronger pressure" in the crackdown against illegal drugs, which he said "has to be a war."
Duterte, who had promised to stamp out the narcotics trade in 3 to 6 months, said "we continue to suffer the drug problem" because of the "lure of billions" of pesos in profit for traffickers.
"Kaya ito talaga (this is why) it has to be a war. Hindi ito sabihin mo special operation ng pulis o military," he said in a taped speech that aired Thursday. "This thing is a very sinister and virulent activity that would affect the life of a nation."
(You cannot limit it to a special operation of the police or military.)
"I hope that I said the next administration would be maybe a stronger pressure sa ginawa ko, mas mabuti. Pabalik-balik 'yung droga eh," he added.
(I hope the next administration would be maybe a stronger pressure than what I did, that will be better. The drugs keep coming back.)
Unleashed in 2016, Duterte's drug war killed thousands of suspected narcotics peddlers, mostly in depressed areas. Rights groups and critics say law enforcers summarily executed suspects. Police say those killed were armed and had resisted arrest.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in September last year approved a full inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity in Duterte's drug war. The ICC suspended the probe some 2 months later following a request by the Philippines, which cited its own investigations.
"I would say and I would insist, tail end sa administration ko na tama ang ano ko, tama talaga ang ginawa ko," Duterte said of his anti-drug campaign.
(I would insist, until the tail end of my administration, that I did what was right.)
"Hindi ako aatras. No apologies, no... Wala ako. Basta ang akin, tama iyong ginawa ko," he continued.
(I will not back down. I won't apologize. For me, what I did was right.)
Presidential frontrunner Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio, the President's daughter, enjoy insurmountable leads in partial, unofficial tallies of Monday's election results.
Marcos and Duterte-Carpio in November said "the war on drugs shall be pursued and won through 'love.'"
The pair said they would build more rehabilitation centers, tap more health workers to take care of drug dependents, and give them livelihood such as making handicraft while in rehabilitation. They added government must intensify port monitoring against the possible entry of narcotics.
Duterte, who steps down in June, said that as a civilian: "Kung mayroon diyang ano (droga), eh ‘di magsumbong ako doon sa pulis na — o sa PDEA — na do something about it kasi mayroong problema."
(If there are drugs there, I would report it to the police or the PDEA, tell them to do something about it because there is a problem.)
Duterte's acting spokesman Martin Andanar said he had no information yet on the 77-year-old leader's preparation for life as a private citizen.
"But knowing the president, and also based sa mga sinabi niya noong nakaraan, ay ipagpapatuloy niya ang kanyang advocacy for good government at ipagpapatuloy niya ang kanyang advocacy para labanan ang korapsyon at labanan ipinagbabawal na droga sa ating lipunan," Andanar said in a press briefing.
(But knowing the president, and also based on his previous statements, he will continue his advocacy for good government, his advocacy against corruption and illegal drugs.)