MANILA (UPDATED) - The war on drugs could have been the Duterte administration's greatest achievement if not for the thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings linked to it, senatorial bet Samira Gutoc said Tuesday.
"Achievement--drugs could be but the deaths, EJKs are so astoundingly appalling. Sayang po eh. Yes peace and order in a way but the deaths from it are so warranting (of) questioning and investigation," she told ANC's Headstart.
"Achievement or maybe just a remarkable or the only thing that’s memorable. 'Remember-able.' It was a shortcut process...mali talaga ang droga but ang pillars of justice system sana nilakasan."
(It was a shortcut process...drugs is really wrong but the justice system should have been strengthened.)
The Moro civic leader eventually answered that the administration's greatest achievement was the Bangsamoro region.
"As a resident of Marawi, malaking bagay po na he (President Rodrigo Duterte) sealed it with a signature from a 20-year dialogue--Aquino and all these administrations who had these peace talks," she said.
"Maybe it’s the Bangsamoro law for me because yun ang alam ko eh. It affects 4 million people, nagkaroon ng (there came) respite, peace process and it will decrease insecurity and therefore bomb blast grenade advisories will lessen in the Philippines."
As for the administration's biggest failure, Gutoc cited the lack of readiness in crisis response.
"We know we’re a country of disasters and crises and medical infectious diseases. Lack of readiness is the biggest failure for me," she said.
Gutoc later Tuesday posted a video on social media clarifying her remarks and said she was not "pro-drug war."
"Kayo naman my gosh hindi naman po pro-drug war si Sam na remarkable is something positive. I was meaning na actually wala na ako maisip na accomplishment...but it doesn't mean I'm pro how it was done or even the drug war itself," she said.
(I'm not pro-drug war that I would say remarkable as something positive. I meant, I couldn't think of any accomplishment...)
"Humihingi po ako ng pasensya sa aking (I would like to apologize for my) poor choice of words. I could have called it out flatly as a failure, and desecration of human lives," she tweeted.
Gutoc, who ran for senator under the Liberal Party in 2019, said she sought permission through a letter to party chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo before transferring to Aksyon Demokratiko.
"I reached out to all major leaders po ng Liberal. Nagpaalam po ako. Hindi po ako ang taong walang utang na loob," she said.
(I reached out to all major leaders po ng Liberal. I asked permission from them. I'm not someone who has no sense of gratitude.)
"I think I've approached this 2 years in quarantine with a very dialogic approach. Marami sa ating leaders under so-called 'dilawan' ay namatay, I've reached out to them whenever in need and they know I did not betray what I stood for."
(Many leaders under the so-called 'yellow' party have passed away, I've reached out to them whenever in need and they know I did not betray what I stood for.)
Gutoc said she joined Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso in Aksyon Demokratiko as "he was a person who would want to work with all colors and I respect that."
"I did not come to him with any expectations although of course to help me tarpaulin my way thru the country especially in Manila, where he is the mayor," she said.
"The heart to heart was respeto niya ako and irespeto ko rin siya (we will respect each other) on the positions that we hold," she said.