Duterte apologizes for foreign lives lost in his drug war

"We didn't want this."

President Duterte has apologized to countries whose nationals died in the Philippines in the course of the ongoing drug war, saying that while he regrets the loss of lives, the government has its own laws to follow.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

Duterte made the statement after the recent anti-illegal drug operations in Zambales and Bataan, which resulted to the deaths of four Chinese nationals who were suspected to be part of a "big-time drug syndicate".

In his pre-recorded public address that aired on Wednesday morning, Sept. 8, the President went over how he despised illegal drugs because it subjects the users to slavery.

While he praised law enforcers for recovering 500 kilos of shabu worth P3.4 billion, Duterte apologized for the deaths that resulted from the operations. He hoped that the mother countries of the fatalities would understand the situation.

"I'm sorry for the loss of lives. Hindi man natin ginusto 'yan (We didn't want this)," Duterte said.

"I just hope the countries from where these guys come from should understand that we have laws to follow," he added.

In line with this, the President reminded Filipinos overseas that he will not lift a finger to help them if they will be arrested for drug charges.

"Kayong mga Pilipino, sabihin ko sa inyo pag nasabit kayo sa droga sa labas hindi ako makialam (To the Filipinos overseas, if you got involved in illegal drugs, I will not interfere)," he said.

"Even in face yung sabihin na i-execute na? Hindi ako... Sabihin ko sa mga ambassador (Even in the face of their execution? I will not interfere. I will tell the ambassadors): You do your thinking but-- whatever you want to do," he added.

"Pag-isipan na ninyo, ako ayaw ko. Ayaw ko talaga (You think about it. But me, I will not interfere)," he continued.

In 2016, it was reported that President Duterte told Indonesian President Joko Widodo to carry on with their verdict on Filipino overseas worker Mary Jane Veloso. Veloso is sentenced to death in Indonesia for supposedly smuggling heroin into the country.

Malacañang immediately clarified the reports, saying that what Duterte told Widodo was to carry out their laws and that he will not interfere.

President Duterte was catapulted to the presidency in 2016 due to his promise to rid the country of illegal drugs in three to six months. However, a few months into his term, he admitted that he had underestimated the situation and said that his drug war will continue until his last day in office.