MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Tuesday the reported recycling of illegal drugs by some police officers during anti-narcotics operations.
Duterte said police officers who engage in the practice should be killed.
"Itong corruption sa droga, 'yang recycle na sinasabi, p*t*ng*n* patayin mo talaga lahat ng pulis na crooked," he said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacañang Palace.
(This corruption in drugs, the recycling that they are saying, you should really kill all crooked cops.)
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Monday said several sources have confirmed that unscrupulous anti-narcotics agents either sell seized illegal drugs or use them as planted evidence in bogus operations.
“There are still reports [of recycling of illegal drugs]… It’s still rampant, especially [among] operatives down [the line],” Aquino told senators during his agency’s budget hearing.
In an ambush interview after the event, Duterte noted that the prevalence of the practice of recycling drugs.
“I have to have evidence, kaya nga ang sabi ko, sundan na lang muna ninyo. Hindi naman talaga outright. Pero kung mahuli nila, for example, 20 kilos, ang ireport nilang 'yan, 10 kilos, tapos may award pa yan sila, tapos ang iba irecycle, ipagbili nila. Marami yan. And it’s so prevalent. Even the present set up of government hindi mo makuha 'to,” Duterte said.
Aquino's earlier revelation has caused concern over the credibility of the government's crackdown on illegal drugs, which has been heavily criticized for the mounting death toll linked to various anti-narcotics operations.
Duterte, meanwhile, tasked newly-appointed Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag to address the illegal narcotics trade inside the national penitentiary.
“Ang drugs, a fourth of the drug activity in greater Manila is being controlled by prisoners inside the National Penitentiary sa Bucor. 'Yan ang masiguro ninyo, and everybody who has been there who has the chance of being the manager there, hirap na hirap. So tignan ko. Inaabuso nila, so this guy from BJMP would know what to do,” he said.
Duterte has gained notoriety and courted controversy over his fierce campaign against illegal drugs, which he vowed to stop during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Police said 5,526 drug suspects were killed from July 1, 2016 until June 30.
The government however routinely dismisses any criticism of the drug war, saying there is a presumption of regularity in all police operations. - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News