President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday blamed his failure to fulfill his promise to stop the drug trade in his first six months in office to his own government's functionaries.
In a speech before barangay officials in Legazpi City, Duterte said it was former PNP chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa who had nudged him to the rude awakening.
“Noong na-presidente ako, sabi ni Bato, ito ‘yung totoo. Paano ako maka-solve ng six months, ang kalaban ko Bureau of Customs, police generals. Lahat nandiyan sa NAIA. Ang kalaban ko gobyerno ko mismo,” Duterte said.
“So anong magawa ko? Sila ‘yung unang pumapatay tapos sabihin nila i-charge nila sa gobyerno. Kasi pinapatay na nila because all the time lahat nagkakantahan na,” he added.
Thousands of killings, mostly those from poor communities, have been blamed on Duterte's war on drugs.
“Sabi ko, kung ganun, o ‘di sige. Gusto niyo patayan? Gusto ko ‘yan. Pagbigyan ko kayo. Sino pang gusto mamatay? Sige. Talagang papatayin kita. Sabihin mo na ano. Ang hindi ko lang kaya patayin, babae pati bata,” Duterte said.
Duterte had repeatedly linked active and retired police officials to the drug trade.
As regards the Customs bureau, at least P6.4-billion worth of shabu in magnetic lifters slipped past Customs watchmen in 2018.
Among those who have been included in the complaints in connection with the drug shipment is former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, whom Duterte appointed to lead the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.