President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered law enforcers to submit reports on their anti-drug operations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), hoping that the tribunal would be convinced why his administration had to launch a drug war.
Duterte issued the directive Tuesday night, saying that such information would paint a picture of how “grave” the drug problem is in the Philippines and would make the ICC, as well as human rights groups, understand his sentiments toward drug peddlers.
“Give them a copy [of your report] to show that tons of shabu [crystal meth] and ecstasy flood the Philippines in a day and let them ponder on the number of young Filipinos [affected by this],” he said in a mix of English and vernacular, addressing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other concerned agencies.
“By then, they will understand me. They should look into how tons of drugs reach the country and how many Filipinos use shabu. They should remember that,” the President added.
Duterte also said that he would make “all available information” on drug use accessible to human rights groups so they would know the country’s situation.
Despite government efforts to eradicate the illegal drug trade, he said the problem remains and that there could be a possible “resurgence” after he steps down from Malacañang on 30 June.
“I do not really say with certainty that illegal drugs will return, but maybe, a little bit of resurgence,” he said.
The President, who has sought closer ties with Beijing since he took office, also floated the possibility that Chinese businessmen may be the culprit for the entry of illegal drugs in the country.
“Unfortunately, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But it’s the Chinese, not the Filipino-Chinese [behind it],” he said.
Last year, the ICC pre-trial chamber allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conduct a full-blown investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed by policemen during Duterte’s drug war.
Duterte, however, declared that he would not cooperate with the ICC probe by arguing that the country’s judicial system is capable of addressing such concerns.
The Philippines’ brutal campaign against illegal drugs has been criticized by human rights group here and abroad as soon as it began.
Since Duterte assumed the highest government post in July 2016, more than 6,200 suspects have been killed in sting operations by the police, as shown in government records. Concerned groups peg the fatalities at 20,000, including those killed by vigilantes.
Meanwhile, anti-drug operatives seized around P75.4-billion worth of illegal drugs, arrested more than 327,000 drug suspects, and destroyed over 1,000 drug dens and clandestine laboratories.