THE Philippines turned into a “narco-state” during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III when as much as 40 percent of local government units being involved in the illicit trade, President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday.
“[Do] you know why shabu flourished everywhere? Because most of the politicians were already into drugs,” Duterte said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the P700-million drug rehabilitation center in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
“Little did we realize that five years [ago], we were already a narco-state and 40 percent of the basic government units—the barangay, then you have the municipality, city, province—were already into drugs,” he added.
During the Aquino administration, a local politician who was also a top leader of the ruling party died with several others in a helicopter crash while transporting the proceeds of drug trafficking.
Duterte said it is thus not surprising that detained Senator Leila de Lima, who was then secretary of justice, would benefit from the drug trade, a charge that De Lima has repeatedly denied and for which she stands trial.
As a result, he said drug lords have turned thousands into “imbeciles” with about 77,000 victims of crimes perpetrated by drug addicts.
“If you count the victims, according to the victims of drug addicts, it’s 77,000,” the President said, exhorting the police not to waver in the war against drugs.
“My orders to the police: Arrest them if it is possible. Go out and hunt for them. But if you are confronted with a violent resistance, if you think that your life is in danger... my God, shoot and shoot them dead before you are killed,” he added.
But police officials themselves said they sense a change in public attitudes with more and more people showing support for the government’s campaign against drugs.
In the province of Maguindanao, thousands of people joined the Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga (Masa Masid) when it was launched in Buluan, Maguindanao on Thursday.
Muslim Mindanao police director Chief Supt. Reuben Sindac said Maguindanao’s provincial and municipal officials have immediately committed support for the Masa Masid program.
Sindac said the drug enforcers have neutralized no fewer than a hundred large-scale drug traffickers in Maguindanao since July 2016 with the help of the provincial government.
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