If President Duterte’s figures are to believed, the number of Filipino police “into drugs” almost doubled in a single day.
During an interview with state-run PTV-4 on Friday (September 29), the president proclaimed “there are about 17,000 policemen in this country involved in drugs.”
However, during a speech in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, the day before, on Thursday, the president gave a much lower estimate of police officers who are involved in the drug trade.
“There are about 9,000 policemen all over the country into drugs. The problem is not that easy,” he said.
On the other hand, the president has been consistent with his claims that 40 per cent of barangays are afflicted with illegal drugs.
He was also steadfast in his assertion that the wave of summary killings seen across the country were not his concern.
“That extrajudicial killing, those murders, we don’t give a damn, we really don’t give a damn,” he said.
He also doubled down on his often-repeated claim that drug suspects are paranoid, and therefore prone to fight it out with police.
He also reiterated that his drug war was essential to save the next generation and that threatening to kill those into drugs was justified under his presidential mandate to protect the country and its people.
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos did not reply when asked to comment on the president’s contradictory statements on the number of police officers who are into drugs.
Catalino Cuy, officer in charge at the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said efforts to clean up police ranks were essential.
“We are intensifying our internal cleansing precisely to address scalawags within the Philippine National Police,” he said. In Filipino parlance, ‘scalawag’ can be used to describe public officials engaging in any misbehaviour ranging from minor corruption to cold-blooded murder.
When asked where the president had got his conflicting numbers, Mr Cuy said “the president has his own sources”.