For those who claim that the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign has never snagged a “big fish”, President Duterte begs to differ.
Duterte, in a speech on Thursday night, Oct. 21 at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, Quezon Province, pointed to a recent incident wherein law enforcers neutralized not one, not two, not even three–but four big fishes.
“Nandyan pala ang media, mabuti nandito kayo. Ang hindi talaga ninyo mapasok sa utak ninyo ang mga big fish, kakapatay lang na apat na Chinese. Yun ang mga big fish dito (Oh the media is here, good thing you’re here. What you can’t hammer in your brains about big fishes is, four Chinese nationals just got killed. Those are the big fish here),” he told his audience at the joint meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Region IV-A.
Duterte was referring to the Sept. 7, 2021 buy-bust operation at a resort in Candelaria, Zambales that resulted in the killing of four illegal drug dealers. They were all Chinese nationals.
Elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) carried out the operation, which also led to the recovery of P3 billion worth of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride).
Duterte explained that, when talking about big fish in the local narcotics scene, one shouldn’t think about rich individuals because that wouldn’t make sense.
“Wag kayo maghanap na big fish na mayayaman o anak ng mga mayayaman. Hindi na kailangan magnegosyo ng ‘shabu’ yan, mayaman na nga eh (Don’t look for big fishes who are rich persons or scions of rich persons. They no longer need to do engage in the ‘shabu’ business, they are already rich),” he said.
“Sabi ninyo walang big fish, walang mayaman ngayon na Pilipino na nasa droga. Kaya nga mayaman na eh (You say that there are no big fishes, there are no rich Filipinos who are involved with drugs. It’s because they’re already rich),” reiterated Duterte, who assumed the presidency in 2016.
“Big fish, big fish, tagal na namin naghahatid ng dead fish (we’ve been delivering dead fish for so long),” he added.
The Philippine leader is known for his aggressive war on drugs, the potential consequences of which might hound him beyond his term in Malacañang.