Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war has reportedly killed well over 6,000 people in a war even he admits is “unwinnable.” Duterte has been so adamant about continuing this policy, however, that he even vowed he would kill his own children if they were caught using drugs.
Now, it seems he may have to eat his own words (or shoot his own son), as his oldest son Paolo was recently linked to a shipment of $125 million worth of crystal meth. Reports are saying Paolo has not been directly implicated, but the investigation alone has brought to light the serious misguidedness of Duterte’s anti-drug policies.
Allegedly, a broker who handled the shipment of crystal meth initially indicated his customs transactions were facilitated by a group that claimed to have links to Paolo and his brother-in-law, Manases Carpio. In the broker’s testimony from August, he claimed to have paid one million pesos per week to a Davao group to facilitate his transactions. Carpio is married to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and Paolo (Sara’s brother) is vice-mayor of the city.
The broker said he never met the two accused directly but dealt with people who mentioned their names and took protection money on their behalf. However, the broker’s initial statement has been retracted.
“My brother-in-law and I have been publicly crucified based on rumors and gossip,” Carpio told lawmakers in Manila on Thursday, denying the allegations.
Paolo Duterte has also denied any involvement in the drug-smuggling case, appearing before a Senate committee that was investigating how it was that the large quantity of meth was able to slip through the Bureau of Customs in May.
President Duterte has also publicly vowed to resign in the event any of his family members are found guilty of corruption or involvement in drug smuggling.
However, Duterte has been relatively quiet on this front, arguably to give the impression that his office will not interfere with the investigation.
“Both gentlemen are willing and ready to face malicious allegations intended to impugn their character and credibility,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement Thursday, according to VICE News. “The president has said on numerous occasions that he would not interfere.”
If Duterte’s son is proven to be implicated in the scandal, it will certainly bring to light the woefulness of his anti-drugs strategy. One can only hope such developments will lead the president to rethink his drug war; however, when one realizes the kind of person we are dealing with, that seems incredibly unlikely.
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