PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday slammed the Mexico-based Sinaloa drug cartel that he says aggravates the drug problem in the Philippines―even as he defended his “war” on illegal drugs in the country.
He identified Sinaloa and a Chinese drug triad as the major enemies before members of the Parish Pastoral Council on Responsible Voting, who paid him a courtesy call on Wednesday afternoon.
“Is Mexico into us? Yes. Sinaloa is their [drug] cartel. We are being used as their transshipment [point],” Duterte said.
“They are slowly being eradicated by the Americans, they are being bombed. That’s why they use the Philippines as a transshipment.... Sinaloa is active.”
Duterte said the fight against the drug menace would not be easy. At the same time he defended himself from his critics―including Senator Leila de Lima who claims he is supporting the killing of drug suspects.
“I do not blame De Lima. It’s her job. But if I will be in the same spot [as hers], I will also do the same.”
Duterte said the government’s declared war against drugs, which has resulted in the surrender of more than 700,000 drug suspects, must cut off the ring leaders in China and Mexico.
“It’s their apparatus―the lieutenants, the trashmen ... that I have to stop. I have to deny them the market,” Duterte said.
“I am willing to accept the consequences, I assume full responsibility.”
Duterte has criticized Mexico for the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines. He said if the drug problem was not addressed promptly, in the next seven years the elections would be about narco-politics.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Wednesday welcomed the planned Senate probe by De Lima on the summary killings linked to Duterte’s fight against the illegal drug trade.
“Basically, that is the job of the legislative―to be able to exercise their independent authority,” Abella said.
“So they are welcome to make the necessary investigation as they see fit.”
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