Drug war to continue under Marcos admin, says Palace

Malacañang assured the public that President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. trusts that his chief of police will continue the country's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Malacañang photo)

In her press briefing on Thursday, August 11, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos is confident that Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin would set policies on how the Marcos administration will handle the problem.

"Tuloy po ang campaign laban sa illegal na droga (The campaign against illegal drugs continues)," she said.

"Pinagkakatiwalaan niya (Marcos) ang kaniyang Chief PNP na mag-set ng polisiya at direktiba ukol dito (The President trusts that his Chief PNP will set policies and directives regarding the matter)," she added.

Angeles likewise echoed Azurin's sentiments that the Marcos administration's campaign against illegal drugs will follow the law.

"Inilabas naman po ni Chief PNP na tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang operasyon (The Chief PNP said that anti-illegal drugs operations are taking place) and they will be compliant with the law pursuant to this," she said.

Marcos failed to discuss the country's drug problem and how he plans to resolve it in his inaugural speech on June 30 and during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.

Despite this, Angeles said Marcos is not forgoing the fight against illegal drugs despite its nonmention in his first SONA.

"The President has laid out his priorities. It doesn't mean that he's not going to pay attention to other concerns. This is just the roadmap for his administration," she said.

"The day-to-day and ongoing activities-- these are considered still part of the program, particularly those related to continuity. So just because it wasn't mentioned doesn't mean it isn't there," she added.

The country's drug war has been controversial during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte, wherein allegations of extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses got the attention of different local and international groups, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Marcos said last week that the Philippines would not be rejoining the ICC ahead of its investigation of the Duterte-led drug war. Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that as of May 31, 2022, the infamous campaign resulted in the arrest of 345,126 individuals and the deaths of 6,252 during anti-drug operations.

Before he assumed office, President Marcos said he intended to approach the war against drug abuse differently from the methods used by former President Duterte.