Duterte claims public benefited from state-sponsored drug war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) – A furious President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized that the public benefited from the government's drug war, the centerpiece program of his administration.

"Sino ang nakinabang? Kayo, ang mga anak ninyo. Ang bayan natin, ang nakinabang," said Duterte during his weekly public address on Monday.

[Translation: Who benefited from it? You. Your children and our country benefited from it.]

Duterte's remarks were an apparent response to the latest call of ten American senators urging the administration of United States President Joe Biden to condemn the alleged human rights abuses in the country caused by the drug war. 

The ten American lawmakers also cited Duterte's attacks on the press, political opponents, and human rights advocates. They particularly mentioned the continued detention of Sen. Leila De Lima, the targeting of journalist Maria Ressa, and the closure of ABS-CBN broadcast network after the denial of a new franchise.

Duterte also issued a warning to the U.S. State Department on its possible response to the political pressure from the American senators.

"Be careful. Be careful of what you are planning or doing there because your country is guilty also of so many violations of human rights," the President said.

In the meeting supposed to primarily tackle the country's pandemic response, Duterte devoted many minutes in flaunting the recent buy-bust operations made by the national police, the military, and anti-drug operatives. He commended them for confiscating billions worth of illegal drugs.

"Ang tingin ko sa tao na pumasok ng droga, ang IQ mo katorse lang… Bakit papasok ka sa bagay na sisirain ang ulo mo? Huwag ka na lang maghintay na ‘yung utak mo wala na, parang isang munggo na lang," said Duterte.

[Translation: I think those who are engaging in illegal drugs have an IQ of 14… Why will you engage in a thing that will make you crazy? Don't wait for your brain to be gone and become bean-sized.]

Based on available government data, 293,841 drug suspects were arrested while 6,147 were killed in the 203,715 anti-illegal drug operations conducted from July 1, 2016 to May 31, 2021.