Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, told reporters on Tuesday that the circulating intelligence reports claiming that the bulk of the illegal drugs entering the country can be traced to China need to be further investigated and cannot yet be taken as fact. Albayalde’s statements back up similar sentiments expressed earlier by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Totoo ang sabi ng Presidente (What the President said is true.) Because what we have are intelligence information, it has to be validated,” Albayalde told reporters on Tuesday
Albayalde’s statement also pointed out that some illegal drugs are manufactured locally, including drugs like ecstasy and cocaine. If the intelligence reports were to be believed without further investigation or validation, the effect on Chinese nationals and businesses would be unjust.
President Duterte said earlier that some legitimate businesses and importers are being manipulated by international drug cartels. The conclusion of placing blame on the owner of the ships or the freight line over simplifies what could be a much more complex situation.
“Kaya kawawa naman, yung mga tao [I feel bad for these people] especially the legitimate importers and their containers are taken advantage of by criminal gangs. So there has to be a thorough investigation before we start to blame, mostly Chinese,” Duterte was quoted as saying.
Placing the blame on Chinese national importers skirts the deeper issues surrounding international drug trading. President Duterte said that Southeast Asia’s drug problem is rooted in the Triad of Asia, which has connections to the Sinaloa and Medellin Cartels of Mexico City.
According to the President, a “thorough investigation” must first be conducted into the intelligence reports before making any pronouncements.