MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said the Chinese should not immediately be blamed for the entry of illegal drugs in the country.
The Asian Triad, Mexican Sinaloa, and the Colombian Medellin cartels could be using the containers of legitimate importers to smuggle narcotics, he said.
"Kaya kawawa naman ‘yung mga tao (I pity the people), especially the legit importers and their containers are taken advantage of by criminal gangs. So there has to be a thorough investigation before we start to blame mostly Chinese," he said in a speech.
"Anyway, we have the cooperative international intelligence sharing and we can have that. So what’s more important really is not to drag along innocent people into a criminal case which we are not sure of," he added.
Some P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China was discovered at a warehouse in Valenzuela City in May 2017.
Last September, authorities seized 2 magnetic lifters containing P4.3 billion worth of shabu at the port of Manila.
Four more lifters that may have contained P6.8 billion worth of shabu were found the same month at a Cavite warehouse, said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Crime rings have resorted to manufacturing narcotics in trawlers and dilapidated ships outside the country, and letting local drug lords pick up the product, said Duterte.
"Dito wala nang laboratory masyado kasi alam nila papatayin ko talaga sila," he said.
(There is no longer that many laboratories here because they know that I will really kill them.)
Duterte made the remarks at the launch of former President Fidel Ramos' book, "Prosper Thy Neighbor."