Duterte considering resignation if he 'cannot control drugs'

MANILA, Philippines – If he feels he cannot control the spread of illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would mull an exit from the presidency.

“If I cannot control drugs, then maybe it is time for me to think about resignation,” said Duterte on Friday, November 24, in a speech in front of the First Scout Ranger Regiment in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Kaya kung hindi ko ito kaya, aalis ako (If I can’t hack this, I will leave),” he added.

He repeated his assertions that he has no more need for positions of prestige and power.

“I have enough accolades and praises all my life. Including the presidency, it would be 40 years of clapping. I’ve never lost an election,” said Duterte.

The President has spoken previously about resigning. Back in July 2016, he said he would offer to leave his post if the Philippines makes the shift to a federal form of government. (READ: Duterte's constant musings on death, resignation)

In September this year, he said he would resign if Filipinos no longer want him in power, as indicated by major rallies that month meant to commemorate Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law.

State of drug war

In the same speech, Duterte spoke of recent violent acts caused by suspects supposedly high on drugs. Because of these, he said he is “inclined” to bring back the Philippine National Police (PNP) to his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“I have not yet signed the executive order but I am inclined to call back the police and (make them) join again in the drug war,” said the President.

Days before, he said he has to allow the police's return to the controversial campaign.

He has twice stopped the PNP from implementing the drug war because of accusations of corruption. The first time was in January after a South Korean businessman was found to have been murdered by police inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame. 

But a month after, Duterte allowed the PNP to return to the drug war, but in a limited capacity.

After the widely-condemned deaths of teenagers, supposedly at the hands of police, Duterte, in October, named the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the sole agency for the anti-drugs campaign.

On Thursday, the PNP said it is “ready” to implement the drug war with the PDEA.

As a presidential candidate, Duterte had promised to “suppress” the country’s drug problem within 3 to 6 months.

When it became apparent to him that he had underestimated the problem, he extended his deadline to the end of his term. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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