Duterte slams Colombia’s former president for criticizing drug war


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday shot back at the former president of Colombia for criticizing his administration’s war on illegal drugs, calling him an “idiot.”

Cesar Gaviria, who led Colombia’s bloody narcotics crackdown and battled drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, said in a New York Times opinion piece on Tuesday that violence is not the way to win the war on drugs.

“[The former president of] Colombia has been lecturing about my [war on drugs]…that idiot,” Duterte said, without mentioning Gaviria by his name.

In his opinion piece, Gaviria told Duterte that the drug menace cannot be solved by the “heavy-handed approach of killing drug addicts.”

He said he was hoping Duterte would not commit the same mistakes that he did in dealing with Colombia’s drug problem.

“Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse. Locking up non-violent offenders and drug users almost always backfires, instead strengthening organized crime,” Gaviria wrote.

“We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts. We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one,” he added.
The former South American leader said Duterte should instead strengthen public health programs, safeguard human rights and focus on economic development.

“Real reductions in drug supply and demand will come through improving public health and safety, strengthening anticorruption measures — especially those that combat money laundering — and investing in sustainable development. We also believe that the smartest pathway to tackling drugs is decriminalizing consumption and ensuring that governments regulate certain drugs, including for medical and recreational purposes,” he said.

“Winning the fight against drugs requires addressing not just crime, but also public health, human rights and economic development,” Gaviria added.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Malacañang respects Gaviria’s opinion.

The Palace official noted that the second phase of the President’s anti-drug campaign focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents.

“More than a national security problem, the proliferation of drugs in the country has been regarded as a health pandemic,” Abella said, citing the 2,500-patient capacity Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, which was inaugurated in November last year.

He also noted that another drug rehabilitation center, the Residential Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Agusan del Sur – the first to open in a military camp in Mindanao – was likewise opened last year.

“In addition, Philhealth, the government’s national health insurance program, now covers a two-week drug rehabilitation program reserved at P10,000 per member. It is unfortunate that international attention to the drug war in the Philippines centers on drug-related killings rather than the breakthroughs of the campaign,” Abella said.


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  1. Susme, nag-Google search lang ako ng ilang minuto, nalaman kong may ties kay Soros pala itong si Gaviria…


    “Open Society has funded the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, created and chaired by César Gaviria, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Ernesto Zedillo, including Enrique Santos Calderón (Colombia), Antanas Mockus (Colombia), Mario Vargas Llosa ), Moisés Naim (Venezuela), Tomas Eloy Martínez (Argentina), Patricia Marcela Llerena (Argentina), Paulo Coelho (Brazil) and Sergio Ramírez (Nicaragua). Sonia Picado (Costa Rica).”

    Another negative propaganda against Duterte, tsktsk

  2. President Duterte is doing the right thing in combatting drugs and have done an excellent job, because the magnitude of the problems that he needs to deal with. He is also encountering budgetary constraints because the unexpected number of people involved in drugs and presently, he is dealing with crook drug and law enforcers that suppose to help in cleaning the drug mess. Corruption in Government is also in his “to do” list, after the Reds, Abu Sayyaf group, ISIS, to include small and large group of lunatics, trying to destabilize the government. The majority of the country’s population are supporting the President on his journey and wishing him well and success, myself included.

    Cesar Gaviria was President of Colombia in 1990-1994 and his comments on PDU30 style on drug war is shallow and his comments were NOT based on his experience as President of Colombia, once the biggest cocaine producer in the world. Former Presidents such as Julio Ayala, Belisario Bentacur, and Virgilio Vargas could tell the world that in the 1980s during their time as Presidents, The United States poured so much money into their economy to replace cocaine to coffee as their product, improve everything in their government from health care to everything that pertains to people. They pumped too much money into the economy and the U.S. went after Manuel Noriega, the dictator of Panama, because he was transporting cocaine into the United States. This are all in the 1980s when Colombia, South America was the production region of cocaine, Panama, is in Central America, under Manuel Noriega was holding / storage ready to be smuggled into the U.S. which is the biggest consumer of their product. Mexico’s drug cartels went on business after the capture of Manuel Noriega of Panama and served 20 years in Florida Prison.

    Here is the bottom line: PDU30 did not have the help that he should need on the problems he inherited from previous administrations. During his first six moths of his administration, he was operating on a limited budget, a remnant from previous administration and the country was hit with couple of typhoons. PDU30 is leading and managing the country to the best he can, and only fair minded and reasonable Filipinos would understand.

    • I agree. PRRD is in very critical situation to maximize available resources, be it in manpower and logistics. Despite all these obstacles and hazard that include the unnecessary political interference emanating both internal and external, such as like this one of Cesar Gaviria, former President of Columbia’s unwelcome and unsolicited lecturing, our President remain effective and as a whole, providing us the best performance appreciated by well-meaning Filipinos and others.

  3. Its nice to see that El Presidente Cesar Gaviria is still ticking after all that has happen to Colombia. The problem with our drug problem is, the people behind the drug manufacturing is not in the Philippines but in China which is out of reach of our government, unlike in Colombia with El Patron Pablo Escobar he was actually in Colombia. So it is very tricky when dealing with the Chinese, you can’t just say to their Communist government to hand over the Drug lords to the Filipinos, they will always say “where are they we don’t see them here in China, maybe they are in the Philippines.” So its very hard to get them

  4. It would be wise for this president to start listening to his critics, to learn from their mistakes. It will be dumb for not listening from other people’s experience, it is only common sense if he have one. He got nothing to lose for listening instead of making enemies.

    • Yes, it is wise to listen if DU30 or the Philippine government duly requested Cesar Gaviria’s advice being the former President of Colombia. But it is purely unsolicited, it is just a waste of the President’s very valuable time to listen to it. For others, yes it is good to consider evaluating the content of the lecture, like you and me, Rey who may have time, if only we could have the access to his speech.

  5. Who would not be shocked of 7000.00 killed suspected drug users in just a few months of DU30 administration if they would not have been killed by the idiot? There is a wisdom from the President’s word of Colombia that DU30 should learn, namely reducing the income that is made in the illegal drug. I think not only reducing the income but confiscating the income, property, doubtful assets and bank accounts of those involved in the illegal drug. If DU30 is serious to curve the overflowing of the illegal drug the country he should do that, not by killing.