Duterte: Thorough probe first before blaming Chinese for drugs in PH

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, October 14, said the Chinese should not be immediately blamed for the presence of illegal drugs in the Philippines. 

"There has to be a thorough investigation before we start to blame mostly Chinese," he said during a speech at the launch of former president Fidel Ramos' book Prosper Thy Neighbor.

Duterte added that the "dope situation" in Southeast Asia is being run by an Asian triad.

The President said an investigation should be done before blaming owners of shipping containers for smuggled illegal drugs, as cartels could only be using them.

"Do not conclude right away that the owner of the container is the smuggler of the drugs," he said. "Kawawa naman 'yung mga tao (I pity the people), especially the legit importers, and their containers are taken advantage of by criminals."

"It's more important really not to drag along innocent people into a criminal case which we are not sure of," the President added.

In May 2017, P6.4 billion worth of shabu was smuggled into the country from China, and discovered in a Valenzuela City warehouse.

Then in August 2018, two magnetic lifters containing 500 kilograms of shabu were discovered by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Customs at the Manila International Container Terminal.

Another 4 lifters supposedly containing P6.8 billion worth of shabu were found at a warehouse in Cavite, but these were already empty. (READ: PNP, PDEA, Customs fail to stop 1,000 kilos of shabu entering PH)

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives questioned how billions of pesos worth of drugs got past authorities.

Duterte's anti-drug campaign has left at least 4,800 people dead, according to the Philippine National Police. But human rights groups estimate that at least 20,000 have been killed, including victims of vigilante groups. (READ: Drug war will be 'as chilling as the day it began' – Duterte– Rappler.com