PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is now in possession of a more detailed “drug matrix” showing the extent of the illegal drug problem in the country.
The list contains the names of personalities who are either operators or protectors of illegal drug syndicates, Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said on Sunday.
In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Andanar added that he had seen the drug matrix, which he described as “unbelievable.”
“I’ve seen the matrix and the drug matrix of those who are highly, allegedly involved in the sale of illegal drugs. What I can only tell you is that if you see the matrix, you’ll probably say that it is really unbelievable that ganoon kadami [it’s that many],” he said.
Andanar added that seeing the matrix made him want to “throw up.”
The magnitude of the drug problem is evident in the statistics of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which has conservatively estimated the number of people into drugs at 1.8 million, he said.
The Cabinet official added he could not say when the President would make the matrix public. He also did not say whether it would be done before, during or after Duterte’s State of the Nation Address next Monday.
Duterte earlier publicly announced the names of several personalities involved in the drug trade, including three active and two retired police generals, local chief executives and inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) who are considered to be big-time drug traffickers.
Last Friday, Duterte met with businessman Peter Lim of Cebu, who was earlier named by the President as one of the top drug lords operating in the country.
The President threatened to execute Lim if it would be proven that he was involved in the illicit trade. Lim promised to help the government in its anti-drug campaign.
Andanar said it “pained” him to see some names in the drug matrix.
“At makikita mo po ‘yung mangilan-ngilang mga personalidad na involved po sa pagbenta, paglalako ng droga, ay napakasakit po tingnan. Kakaunti lang po ‘yung involved pero ‘yung halos milyun-milyong mga kababayan natin, kabataan ang nasisira ang buhay [It’s hard to see the names of some personalities involved in the sale and trafficking of drugs. They’re only a few, but they are destroying the lives of millions of our countrymen, the youth],” he added.
Last week, Andanar said about 60,000 drug dependents had surrendered to the government since Duterte assumed the presidency.
Malacañang said the growing number of those saved from drug addiction far outweighed the number of drug pushers killed in various police operations.
“We can see that the President has even named the Level 5 drug lords. Level 5 drug lords or alleged drug lords are the highest that you can get in the hierarchy of those who are selling, pushing, peddling illegal drugs,” Andanar said.