Sun, 1 Oct 2023


Bongbong admits to ‘abuses’ during drug war
Published on: Saturday, May 06, 2023
By: ABS CBN News
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Bongbong admits to ‘abuses’ during drug war
Rodrigo Duterte (left) speaks to his successor Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. (right) after the departure honours for Duterte at the Malacañang Palace in Manila in June of 2022.
MANILA: President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos, Jr. on Friday acknowledged “abuses by certain elements in the government” under his predecessor’s war on drugs, which he said failed to stop syndicates from growing “stronger.”During the question and answer portion at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, Marcos said former President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics drive “focused very much on enforcement”.

“Because of that, it could be said that there were abuses by certain elements in the government and that has caused some concern about the human rights situation,” Marcos said. Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte’s “war on drugs”, which began in 2016, but rights groups say that up to 30,000 may have died, some innocent victims, and that corruption was rife among security forces that acted with impunity.

Marcos said that while he could not speak on behalf of Duterte or “what he had in mind,” he noted that illegal drugs remained the source of “much criminality in the Philippines.”

Drug syndicates, he added, grew “stronger, wealthier and more influential.” Marcos said he would focus on reeducation and dismantling drug rings. “We have taken enforcement as far as we can. Now, it is time to look at actually going after dismantling these syndicates,” Marcos said. “Further back to that process is also… the process of reeducation, of explaining especially to our young people what the damage — what the potential damage is to their lives should they be involved in this way, not only as users, not only as addicts, but also as dealers and operators of these syndicates,” he added. He noted that government was also reviewing courtesy resignations from senior police officials to weed out officers with alleged links to the drug trade.  The International Criminal Court in January authorised the resumption of its investigation into the drug war and the Davao Death Squad killings in the Philippines. Duterte, who initiated the drug war, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2019, a year after the Hague-based tribunal began a preliminary probe into the crackdown.

Marcos has, so far, ruled out reversing Duterte’s decision to pull the Philippines out of the ICC. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla both said Manila, instead of the ICC, should have jurisdiction over alleged drug war crimes.

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