Palace: Duterte signed new drug war memo to ‘accommodate’ critics
President Duterte revealed on Thursday that he signed the new anti-drug war memorandum to satisfy those who have been criticizing his campaign against illegal drugs due to the rising number of people who are getting killed.
According to Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, the signing of the memorandum only goes to show how democratic Duterte is and that the President listens to the people.
"He gave the directive in order to accommodate, apparently to accommodate those who think the campaign against drugs should be conducted otherwise," Abella said during the Mindanao Hour/Bangon Marawi press briefing Friday.
"And this is saying, 'You know if this is the way to go, that you feel more comfortable to go this way, then let's go that path,'" he added.
The Palace official also noted how Duterte pointed out the lesser number of deaths among drug suspects and PDEA agents as the agency conducts drug operations.
"The PDEA for example, he said, has lesser deaths, under lessened death-related operations. So he says if this seems to be more accommodating to the mood of the times, then let's see how it goes," Abella said.
"If the perception is that PDEA would be more acceptable in doing the campaign, waging the campaign, then let's see how it goes. That was the tenure of the President's statement," he added.
Duterte on October 10 signed the said memorandum ordering the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and other concerned agencies to cease from conducting drug-related operations.
Abella, however, clarified that Duterte's memorandum was sarcastic and that the President was acting on his emotions.
"I'm sure that the President has allowed his full range of emotions but he's making decisions regarding that," he said.
"He was backed up by facts and figures, right? He pointed it out. He pointed out. He's very much aware of the facts and figures," he added.
Abella, however, denied that the signing of the memorandum was to cover up the misdeeds of the PNP under its Oplan Tokhang.
"I think that's presumptive to think it's a graceful cover up. No, it's simply a response to a situation. If it were a business, it's a corporate decision," he said.
Duterte on Thursday expressed that it was saddening how his critics seem to have cheapened the death of government troops who are waging the campaign.
He also said that should something go wrong in the drug operations from now on, the public should not blame him.
"When something not to your liking is happening, do not look at me. Praise the bleeding hearts. Kasi ginawa ko na talaga lahat (Because I really did everything that I could)," Duterte said.
Abella also said that the President trusts that the PDEA can fulfill its duties given the history between Duterte and PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
"They (Duterte and Aquino) have known each other for 22 years. And so regarding trust, I imagine there is a modicum of trust there," he said.
The Palace, however, asked the public to give PDEA some time to adjust to its heavier responsibility.
"Any major campaign would require a period of adjustment so let's see how it goes," Abella said.
The President on Thursday said he believes the PDEA can fulfill its mandate, especially after the successful operation leading to the arrest of Maasim, Sarangani Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr.