Duterte: I underestimated the problem on drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech before the military on Wednesday said it might take him longer to solve the country's problem on illegal drugs.

The President said, he might have misjudged the severity of the problem.

"Nung piniga ko na ng piniga… nalaman ko to my horror, hindi ko alam ganun kalala," Duterte said.

"Di ko talaga akalain, kaya sabi ko 3-6 months."

[Translation:  When I dug deeper into the problem, I found out to my horror, I wasn't expecting that it was that bad.  I underestimated it, that's why I said (I can fix it) in 3-6 months.]

Duterte said, the problem now is encompassing, as the trade has also shifted its ways.

"Ang droga, within government na ang away ngayon," said Duterte.

"Making kayo ha, ngayon wala na masyado sa labas. But if you want to buy shabu, kung mag negosyo ka, kailangan pumunta ka muna sa mga penal colonies," he added.

[Translation: The problem now on drugs is within the government.  Listen, all of you, there is not much trade now outside.  But if you want to buy shabu, if you want to do business, you need to go to penal colonies.]

Related: Duterte asks local executives for help in drug war

Duterte said, he himself is getting confused on how to deal with the situation. "Pati ako hindi ko talaga alam kung ano ang gagawin ko dito," the President said.

He also admitted that his moves are being constrained by the technicality of the laws of the land — especially in dealing with known drug peddlers, but not enough evidence against them.

"You cannot convict, apprehend, or prosecute a person… That is the technicality of the law that makes it hard for me to deal with the problem," Duterte said.

"Magdasal lang sila na hindi ako mabuwang. Kasi pag ako na ang nabuwang, ako na ang magdala ng M-16, may mga ano lang ako siguro dalawang patroller, ubos lahat yan. Tapos ang problema natin."

[Translation:  They should just pray that I keep my sanity.  Because if I go crazy, I will bring an M-16 myself, maybe two patrollers with me, and I will end this problem once and for all.]

Related: Duterte calls on military to bolster war on drugs

The President said, the government is now thinking of ways to cut the ties of the prisoners in penal colonies to the outside world.

After he has ordered the replacement of jail guards in the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) with Philippine National Police - Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), Duterte is now planning to put more cellphone jammers in penal facilities. Drug lords in Philippine prisons are known to continue running their businesses through cellular communications.