FOREVER ENEMY. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Malacañan Palace on Monday (May 23, 2022). Duterte said he will forever remain an enemy of the drug lords and drug peddlers even beyond his term as president. (Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

MANILA – As his six-year term ends on June 30, President Rodrigo R. Duterte warned drug smugglers that he would always consider them his enemies.

This, after Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año reported to him that "shabu" (crystal meth) and marijuana amounting to at least PHP295.9 million were confiscated by law enforcers from May 11 to 22.

“Galit talaga ako. ‘Pag ginawa mo ‘yan sa bayan ko, para na ring tinatapos mo ang buhay namin. So gusto kong dapat malaman ‘yan ng mga durugista (I am really mad. If you destroy my country, it is as if you ended our lives. So I want drug lords to know), I will forever remain your enemy. Iyan ang tandaan ninyo (Remember that),” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

He reiterated his promise to continue his anti-narcotics campaign even as a civilian.

“We can continue this fight even if I am already a civilian. Mahirap itong shabu na ‘to, sabi ko sisirain ang bayan nito (This shabu is a difficult case, it will destroy this nation). They will make the Philippine society dysfunctional,” he added.

Duterte said he would rather see drug lords and drug peddlers “dead than alive.”

He also dismissed criticism from human rights groups as “posturing.”

“Itong (These) human rights, they are — all they have to do — all that they can do really is posturing, hanggang diyan lang ‘yan sila (that is all they can do). They cannot help the country,” he said.

Duterte said law enforcement agents should be able to kill drug dealers mercilessly, especially if it endangered their lives.

“They should be able to kill the drug lords without mercy. Hayaan mo ‘yang human rights na ‘yan. Hindi makatulong sa bayan natin ‘yan (Ignore the human rights groups. They cannot help the nation),” he added.

In November 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands suspended its investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity attributed to Duterte’s drug war to assess “the scope and effect of the deferral request” of the Philippine government.

The ICC's investigation covers the conduct of the drug war under Duterte’s watch, as well as alleged killings in Davao City between 2011 and 2016 when the President was still the mayor.

Duterte has repeatedly insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction to probe the drug war because Philippine judicial processes are working.

The Philippines formally ended its ties with the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after the scrapping of the Rome Statute. (PNA)