Reuters file photo of President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — What’s the difference between rich and poor drug users and why is it that those who often get arrested or killed in the government’s war on drugs are impoverished Filipinos?
According to President Rodrigo Duterte, while it isn’t his administration’s intention to kill the poor being linked to shabu, the main market for crystal meth, which he says is “a deadly mix of chemicals that melts and shrinks the brain,” are impoverished Filipinos, who resist arrest and fight authorities.
He said the situation among rich drug users is different because they consume the less deadly cocaine and don’t fight with the police.
“Tapos sabihin nila si Duterte, ang pinapatay ang mahirap. Hindi nila alam na ang market ng shabu, alam ninyo, ang pobre [Then they would say Duterte is killing the poor. What they don’t know, but you know, is that the poor is the market for shabu ,” said Duterte in a speech during her visit to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on Wednesday.
“Walang mayaman dito sa taga-Makati, taga-Forbes, gumagamit ng shabu. Cocaine ‘yan [No rich from Makati or from Forbes use shabu. They use cocaine]. It comes from a plant called poppy and it does not really necessarily destroy the brain. Itong shabu, it’s a deadly mix of chemicals. ‘Yan. Natutunaw ‘yong utak, lumiliit [It melts and shrinks the brain],” he said.
Also, during his speech, the President reminded authorities that drug trade is an organized crime and thus everyone involved in it, including the poor, are blameworthy.
“You know, may I remind you, pulis man kayo. Drug o drugs is always an organized crime. The act of one in the organization is the act of all. Alam ninyo ‘yan mga pulis. The liability is the same for the…’yong mga cook, the lieutenants are responsible for the distribution, and the peddlers,” said Duterte.
“Once conspiracy is proved, ‘pag sinabi 30 years ‘yang isa, 30 years lang lahat pati ‘yong mahirap [Once conspiracy is proved and if the sentence is 30 years, it will be 30 years for all, including for those who are poor],” he added.
Duterte added that even those who are poor fight back with authorities but not the rich because if they do, they would bring high-grade firearms.
“Pati ‘yong mga mahirap, lumaban. Wala naman taga-Forbes. Alam mo, sigurado ‘yan. Kung taga-Forbes ‘yan, magdala ng M-60 ‘yan,” he said.