Malacañang defends Duterte's admission of failed drug war; 'significant accomplishments' cited

Less than a day after President Duterte admitted he ​was wrong in underestimating the illegal drug problem in the country, Malacañang maintained on Thursday that his administration succeeded in having significant accomplishments in terms of addressing illegal drug problems.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte's remarks about the illegal drug trade just "underscores the depth, the magnitude and the complexity of the problem which was unknown to him when he was a presidential candidate."

"The Palace, thus, maintains that the Duterte Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs remains unprecedented as it is able to produce significant accomplishments in the number of drugs seized, dens and clandestine laboratories dismantled as well as drug-cleared barangays," Andanar said in a statement.

The acting Palace spokesman made the pronouncement after Duterte said it was only a campaign "hubris" when he said that he could rid the country of illegal drugs in three to six months.

"Then after that, I realized na nagkamali talaga ako (I realized I was wrong)," Duterte said during the inauguration of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway project Wednesday night.

In defending the President, Andanar took pride in the administration's seizure of P63.43 billion shabu from July 1, 2016 to February 28, 2022.

He also cited the 1,075 dens and laboratories that were dismantled, the 24,379 barangays that were cleared of drug menace and the 331,694 individuals who were arrested.