Updated 21:41 PM PHT Wed, February 8, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte is not about to heed the advice of former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria — at least not when it's about the war on drugs.
In a searing commentary the former leader wrote in The New York Times, Gaviria said the mistakes he made in trying to end Colombia's drug problem — are the same mistakes Duterte is making.
Gaviria also said, taking a hard-line stance against criminals may be popular for politicians, but the human costs are enormous.
"I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president," he said. "The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte's war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable."
Though he did not particularly mention Gaviria, President Duterte said he is being lectured by an "idiot."
The president spoke about the commentary in his speech at the 115th anniversary of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
"Sabi nila yung Colombia has been lecturing about me, that id--t. Doon cocaine. Cocaine pati heroine is not really bad. Cocaine is more or less marijuana, medyo okay yan, you can still communicate. But with shabu, ang minimix dyan tubig ng baterya," Duterte said.
[Translation: They said Colombia has been lecturing me, that id—t. They have Cocaine there. Cocaine and heroine is not really bad. Cocaine is more or less marijuana, that seems to be fine, you can still communicate. But with shabu, it is being mixed with battery fluid.]
Duterte said the two countries' drug problems are different since Colombia dealt with cocaine, not shabu - which he says is more destructive on human brain.
The President reiterated, his war on drugs continues - and that he is prepared to take full responsibility for the deaths.
In the same speech, he also thanked the bureau for helping in the drug war by confiscating illegal drugs smuggled into the country.
He also said the chunk of government earnings comes from the BOC and this is money the administration could really use.
"I would need money to buy the equipment and the things that I would need to keep this country in order," Duterte said.
At the same time, the President also warned employees of the Customs Bureau against temptation, and reminded them to always put government's interest ahead of their own.
"Secret there is do not crave for things which you cannot afford," Duterte said. "Do not dream of things beyond your reach."
The President also reminded the public to take a firm and aggressive stand against corruption.