MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday hit former president Benigno Aquino III for his supposed lack of knowledge on the country’s drug problem, saying that Aquino may have “never attempted to know” the gravity of the situation.
“Maybe he (Aquino) did not realize the gravity of the situation because he simply did not know or never attempted to know how much is the scale of 3 million (drug users),” Duterte said in a speech during the National Bureau of Investigation’s 80th anniversary.
He said the government has actual figures on government officials linked to illegal drugs, claiming there are 6,000 policemen 3,000 incumbent barangay captains, 17 mayors including one who has recently died, an apparent reference to Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., two congressmen and three or four governors.
Duterte also lamented the challenges he is facing in solving the drug problem, noting that he is operating on a budget prepared by the Aquino administration, which he said half was already gone.
“If you are a president of a country that is racked with rebellion, extremism, and the flooding of drugs sometimes it can be hell. And sometimes you really ponder whether it would be right just to resign and say that, just invent an ailment and say I’m suffering from this cancer and I’d like to take a rest,” he said.
INNOVATE THE LAW OR LET PEOPLE SUFFER
Following his earlier announcement of a possible suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, Duterte said he would like to follow the law but he has to make a choice on innovating the law or letting the people suffer.
“I would like to follow the rules of law. It is rules that make up the law but when shabu was coming in strong and fast we had to make a choice. We innovate the law or we let our people suffer,” he said.
He explained that for people like him who has served in public office, he sometimes has to choose to do something wrong to protect society.
“For us who’ve been leaders for a time, we need to choose. We choose sometimes what to do, either we do something to protect society or do something, sometimes wrong,” he said.
He added: “The rule of law and the obedience of the law are just principles of the law and they are really good if everybody follows. Problem is there is no obedience of the law and sometimes the rule of law becomes a stupid preposition.”