PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday lamented that his predecessor Benigno Aquino III failed to realize the gravity of the drug problem even as he revealed that the government is currently digging into a suspected multi-billion-peso money laundering case.
In a speech delivered during the 80th founding anniversary celebration of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila yesterday, Duterte said that someone had set up a “fake” corporation to launder money.
“There is a guy here now, just recently, we’re digging into the records of the case and he has… not really a fake corporation but set up just to launder money. And to date, we have the accounting of P5.1 billion, P5.1 billion. One family,” the President said.
Duterte, however, did not provide more details. But the expose came after the President explained the war on drugs anew.
“Maybe he (Aquino) did not realize the gravity of the situation because he simply did not know or never attempted to know how much is the scale of 3 million (drug users),” Duterte said in his speech.
He said the government has actual figures on government officials linked to illegal drugs, claiming there are 6,000 policemen 3,000 incumbent barangay captains, 17 mayors including one who has recently died, an apparent reference to Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., two congressmen and three or four governors.
Duterte also decried the challenges he is facing in solving the drug problem, noting that he is operating on a budget prepared by the Aquino administration, of which he said half was already gone.
“If you are a president of a country that is racked with rebellion, extremism, and the flooding of drugs sometimes it can be hell. And sometimes you really ponder whether it would be right just to resign and say that, just invent an ailment and say I’m suffering from this cancer and I’d like to take a rest,” he said.
Duterte said he would like to follow the law but he has to make a choice on “innovating” the law or letting the people suffer.
“I would like to follow the rules of law. It is rules that make up the law but when shabu was coming in strong and fast we had to make a choice. We innovate the law or we let our people suffer,” he said.
He explained that for people like him who has served in public office, he sometimes has to choose to do something wrong to protect society.
“For us who’ve been leaders for a time, we need to choose. We choose sometimes what to do, either we do something to protect society or do something, sometimes wrong,” he said.
Later in his speech, Duterte warned the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to cooperate with the government.
Duterte accused AMLC and the BSP of “protecting somebody, those who are really into money laundering.”