Duterte Makes Unlikely Joke About Drug Use

The drug war waged by the leader of the Philippines has killed thousands
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 3, 2018 5:30 PM CST
Duterte Makes Unlikely Joke About Drug Use
Rodrigo Duterte listens to a speech during a ASEAN Plus China Summit meeting in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a controversially bloody war on drug dealers in the Philippines, but that didn't stop the leader from cracking wise Monday about his own use of illicit substances. Per Reuters, Duterte said in a speech that he used marijuana to stay awake at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which he attended in Singapore last month. After the comment caused a stir, Duterte clarified that he was merely kidding.

"It was a joke, of course it was a joke, but nobody can stop me from just doing my style," he quoted by a local media network, per the AP. Possession of marijuana is punishable by a long prison sentence and a heavy fine in the Philippines. Philippine police say more than 4,800 suspects have been killed in the drug crackdown that began in July 2016 after Duterte took office. Rights groups have denounced the killings as extrajudicial executions and say the crackdown is unfairly directed at the poor rather than the kingpins in the illicit trade. (Duterte has also waged a war on corrupt public officials.)

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