Months after announcing that he once used marijuana and suddenly declaring that he wants the medical use of marijuana be legalized in the country which send legislators from both houses scrambling to legislate the measure, President Rodrigo Duterte has flipped-floped and made a 360 degree change of mind and heart. He declared he no longer wanted to legalize the use of marijuana. Never, in his lifetime.
The latest announcement of the President surprised a many especially among the legislators allied with him. Everybody simply turned to silent mode not knowing what to say and how to react except Senate President Tito Sotto who immediately thanked Duterte for changing his mind. Sotto was the principal author of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
What changed the mind of Duterte remains unclear. It could be politics. The midterm election is fast approaching and his prior statement favoring the use of marijuana for medical purposes could be used against him and the candidates he is supporting.
Publicly admitting that he has been using marijuana for medication purposes and advocating for its medical use necessitates a presumptively logical admission of a lingering medical condition which is usually associated with severe pain.
It also created a blow to his severely bloody and irrational campaign against illegal drugs which has killed more than twenty thousand Filipinos as of today. Interestingly, Instead of lowering the number of drug users by his own admission, the number has bloated to several millions of Filipinos higher than the figures he announced when he assumed the presidency.
The age of the President could have factored in also on his 360 degrees turnaround. He has become so tentative over the things that he has been doing and saying which is all but normal among old people. The problem however, Duterte’s state of mind given his age is not affecting only one family. He is the President of a country.
Some of the President’s avid admirers are saying that he is an astute tactician. His announcement that he favors the legalization of the medical use of marijuana and the sudden change of heart towards the policy is all but a ploy to identify something. While such assumption is reasonable, one must bear in mind that implementing a national policy is not as simple as trying to catch a lying child where scare tactics and fakes are reasonably done.
Illegal drugs is eating alive the future of the Filipinos and it must be stopped at all cost. That’s the national policy of the Duterte administration. He ordered the murder of drug lords and drug addicts. He exposed the narco politicians and even encouraged killing them. Then suddenly, the President admitted using marijuana and his spin masters were quick to explain that it is actually for medical purposes. The President called for the legislation of the use of marijuana for medical purposes and reverses his mind saying he will never allow it under his tenure.
Is Duterte really serious in his campaign against illegal drugs? In his recent narco list made public, he again capitalized on former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, saying that Mabilog has went into hiding and must come home if he is not guilty of involvement in illegal drugs.
Duterte said that it’s a verified list this time as the old list contained names of dead people and private individuals who were identified as congressmen. Unfortunately for Mabilog, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has cleared him of involvement already but Duterte is saying he has other sources of verification.
Now what is the purpose of PDEA if Duterte would not recognize its
report? These other sources must be better than PDEA. But if they are far
credible and efficient how come Polong Duterte’s name did not come out? The
only person to have implicated Mabilog is the President. In the case of Polong,
his name has already gone viral in several intelligence reports and
congressional investigations. How come Duterte has never investigated or
murdered his son when he can even afford to boast that he is better than
The anti-drug policy has been by far very inconsistent. Maybe, the problem is not so much in the proliferation of it but on the persons trying to stop it. As they say, it’s hard to wake up someone who is not sleeping and so it goes, perhaps.