President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he will recalibrate the anti-narcotics campaign to focus on the big fish and to include prevention and rehabilitation.
“For the enforcement, look I am not interested in the kid who makes P100 a week selling weed, that is not the person I want you to go after,” Mr. Marcos told members of Asia Society in New York Saturday morning (Manila time).
“I want you to go after people, who if we get them, if we neutralize them or put them in jail. we will make an actual difference so that the supply of drugs, the system of distribution, the system of importation – much of it really comes from abroad. That will actually make a difference. That will put a stop to it. That’s what we are working on right now,” he added.
The President acknowledged the war against drugs has to continue, but he will President…“examine and learn lessons from the experience of the past administration.”
“As I come into office, you see, you cannot stop the drug war. The problem continues to exist,” he said.
“Close to 4 and a half million actual addicts in the Philippines and the corrosive effect on that on society, on criminality, on the drug syndicates, even the politicization of the whole drug syndicates and their networks is something that we have to deal with,” Mr. Marcos added.
Mr. Marcos earlier directed Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to come up with policies that would ensure the anti-narcotics campaign is compliant with the law.
Azurin ordered an audit of the drug situation in the country, focusing on areas where prominent drug personalities were killed.
He also sought a partnership between the PNP and other government agencies to ensure that the drug supply chain in the country would be “reduced, if not cut totally.”
Despite his intention to refocus the war on drugs, the President has maintained his stance not to rejoin the International Criminal Court.
The government earlier asked the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC to deny the request of its prosecutor to resume the body’s investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under the Duterte administration in the implementation of its anti-illegal drug war.
The ICC is seeking to investigate the killings related to Duterte’s war on drugs for the period between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019, and those that happened in the Davao region between November 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016.
In its submission, the government asserted the ICC has no jurisdiction over the situation in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, President Marcos said he will not interfere in the cases filed against Rappler and its CEO, Maria Ressa.
“What have happened with Maria Ressa and Rappler is that it was determined that it is a foreign enterprise. And that’s not allowed in our rules, in our law,” he said.
“And her situation right now…has nothing to do with her political leanings. What has happened is that an individual has filed cyber libel cases against her and that’s what she is facing now. So that is the situation with Maria Ressa,” Mr. Marcos added.