‘This is the most dangerous time for anybody to be playing with drugs’

Surigao del Sur authorities recovered on Sunday, February 24, 34 bricks of suspected cocaine with the same packaging and markings as the ones found on the shore of Dinagat Island in the Caraga region last week. Police personnel from Surigao del Sur led by Senior Superintendent Francisco Dungo recovered the 34 cocaine bricks from two fishermen who found the contraband off Tandag City. (Philstar.com photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, February 24, said that now is the most dangerous time to be involved in illegal drugs.

People who profit off of narcotics should find another income source or they will lose their lives quickly, the president added.

“Don’t ever enter into that. Those who haven’t tried it yet, don’t… You’ll earn money there quickly, but you’ll lose your life just as quick,” he said during the distribution of grants to cash transfer beneficiaries in Cebu.

Duterte, who vowed to launch a harsher and bloodier war against illegal drugs last week, reiterated that the illegal drugs menace is destroying the country and making families dysfunctional.

“I’ll make it simple. I will finish you off because my nation is going insane. You know, you create so many social dysfunctions. When you enter into drugs, the head of the family becomes inutile,” he said.

“If you remain like that, I still have three years. I told you I will really finish the war against drugs in three years’ time,” he added.

The president also issued a warning to human rights advocates who are planning on interfering with his anti-drug crackdown. He claimed he was not afraid to be assassinated.

“Don’t mess around with me. You do not scare me a bit. You scare people by killing people, that you will kill the president. Son of a b****, do you want us all to fire at each other at the same time?” he said.

“It will make me very happy for things to reach an end. Don’t try to scare me about assassination. I will walk when I want to walk. When the time comes that I will no longer be able to walk on my own, I will tell God, ‘I am useless here. Kill me,” he added.

Duterte also threatened to kill Peter Lim, a businessman accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.

“I warned you on TV. I already warned you. That’s true. I will kill you. Do not show yourself to me. Find a hell where you can hide. Do not ever show yourself in the Philippines. I will finish you off,” he said.

Lim, who has denied his involvement in illegal drugs, has not been seen since last year. Last week, Duterte told him to commit suicide or he would imprison him for 200 years.

ICC withdrawal

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday said the drug trade profiting from the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s “self-seeking” publicity led to the Philippines’ withdrawal from the international tribunal.

The ICC is a court of last resort for the prosecution of serious international crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In July 1998, the Rome Statute, its treaty, was adopted.

“What triggered my unilateral withdrawal was embarrassment by threats from Manila to withdraw and the reasons for it. I don’t do empty threats nor abide stupid reasons. So I withdrew with only valid one: the drug trade was profiting from the ICC’s self-seeking publicity. Sad,” Locsin posted on Twitter.

“It will change when the drug trade lets up its pressure on the Philippine government to give up its war on drugs and against terrorism, both of which we aim to destroy and never to accommodate in our society. A little patience,” he added.

The Philippines withdrawal from ICC was in response to the ICC’s move to launch a preliminary examination of Duterte’s “drug war” killings to determine whether to open a full-blown investigation back in February 2018. 

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