Duterte explains: Why the rich are beyond reach of drug war

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Amid criticisms that only the poor and small fry had fallen targets to the government's war on drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte explained that the battle was not a matter of social classes — but more of plain, simple logistics.

Duterte told the media on Wednesday that the reason why most of the suspects were the ordinary Juan dela Cruzes was that they were "easy targets" compared to those well-off addicts — who would take illegal substances in places beyond the authorities' jurisdiction.

Watch: Duterte: Poor drug suspects easier targets

The President said wealthy druggies would do their stuff while on a plane, and obviously, it would be harder to run after them.

"Dadalawa na nga lang yung jet dito sa Philippine Air Force. Gastusan ko pa ng gasoline. Hintayin ko na lang sila bumaba," Duterte said.

[Translation: I could not do that because the Philippine Air Force has only two jets. I would have to spend for gasoline. So I'd just wait for them to land.]

Jurisdiction and technology

He also said that drug lords use satellite phone and satellite imaging — making them really hard to track down as they ply their trade from a distance. They could unload contraband in international waters, which later would be tracked down via GPS.

Related: Dela Rosa: PNP more aggressive vs drugs due to President's full support

Another reason why the drug campaign was less aggressive against well-to-do drug users, Duterte admitted, was that they get high on cocaine and heroin — which he said were not as destructive to a person as shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride). The President explained these pricey illegal substances were less harmful because they were made from poppy plant, where as shabu (dubbed as poor man's cocaine) was made from car battery liquid. He had said that after six months to one year of shabu addiction, the brain would have shrunk, impairing a person's discernment of right and wrong.

Related: Senate probe: Witnesses link policemen to murder, illegal drugs

Besides, the President added, he had not heard of shabu dealers coming from exclusive, posh subdivisions like Forbes Park.

And given that the poor outnumber the rich, the campaign could not afford to spare the underprivileged from arrests.

Watch: CHR: Scale of extrajudicial killings unprecedented

"Just because you are poor, you are supposed to be excused from what, apprehension?" Duterte said. "Hwag nyo ako bolahin sa kahirapan. Dumaan ako dyan. So hwag mo akong sentimental, sentimental ka diyan. Hindi ko tanggapin yan."

[Translation: Don't kid me with poverty sentimentalities, I've been there. I won't accept that.]

Duterte, who attended the wake of a slain police officer in Taytay, Rizal, pointed out that Inspector Mark Gil Garcia was not killed by a rich man. He noted that an average of two policemen were being slain everyday in anti-drug operations. That's why he said he would have none of this poor-rich distinction: "I don't give a sh**."

'The Matrix'

Duterte has released a matrix showing personalities in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), according to state-owned People's Television Network (PTV).

The drug matrix posted in the PTV Facebook account mentions seven personalities allegedly involved in drug operations inside the national penitentiary.

The President earlier said he would present the matrix showing the drug trade inside the national penitentiary by Sunday.

Related: Duterte: De Lima affair with driver 'gave rise' to NBP corruption

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.