Duterte 'offended' by former DDB Chief's remarks on mega rehab project

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — President Rodrigo Duterte did not hold back when asked how he felt about the former Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chief's negative comments on a mega-drug rehabilitation facility.

Duterte said former DDB Chief Dionisio Santiago could have asked to speak with him and aired his sentiments then.

"Nagbitaw siya ng salita [He said] that it is a waste of money, that it is not the right approach...He came up with a very incongruous statement that I was offended," the President said prior to his departure for Vietnam Wednesday.


"Kaya kita nilagay diyan not to issue statements to the press. Nilagay kita diyan para magpunta ka sa akin kung anong problema natin sa bayan natin at turuan mo ako, kung nagkulang ako, kung ano ang dapat kong gawin," said the President, referring to Santiago.

[Translation: I did not assign you to that position to issue statements to the press. I put you there so you could come to me when the country has problems and teach me, if I fall short, what I should do.]

When asked by a reporter if Santiago had a replacement, Duterte said, "We'll have a cup of coffee in my office and I'll tell you all about it."

In an interview with another news outfit on November 1, Santiago called the multi-billion mega-drug facility in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija "impractical" and a "mistake."

Santiago on November 2 told CNN Philippines the drug rehab facility a "miscalculation."

RELATED: Mega-rehab center a 'miscalculation' – Drugs Board Chief

Santiago has been advocating for a "soft approach" to the rehabilitation of drug users that utilizes the teaching of livelihood skills, and programs in education and sports.

Santiago also prefers smaller regional and community-based facilities for drug rehabilitation.

When asked for the reason behind his resignation Tuesday, Santiago told CNN Philippines, "The least expected things happen. Good intentions may not be enough. No talk, no mistake."

READ: Drugs Board Chief resigns upon Duterte's order