MANILA — A Malacañang official said Friday the government is not taking lightly the reported death threat against President Rodrigo Duterte.
”We will not just ignore it. We will also take extraordinary steps to assure the security of our President,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a radio interview.
Police reported Thursday that they have busted a suspected arms smuggling group that was supposed to sell gun parts to a group out to assassinate President Duterte.
”These gun parts, if assembled, will make more than 100 M16 rifles and will be used for assassination. But there are reports that this assignation was intended during the campaign,” Andanar said.
While death threats are nothing new to President Duterte, Andanar said, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) is prepared to thwart any possible assassination attempt.
”The people can also help if we will serve as neighborhood watch. Let us help our police because they have not enough number to protect 104 million population,” he explained.
After Duterte’s overwhelming victory last May 9 elections, top drug and crime lords reportedly raised PHP50 million each for the heads of the President and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Malacañang said no death threat would stop the Duterte administration from pursuing its promise to crack down on illegal drugs until the last drug apparatus is destroyed.
”He is well aware that his life is constantly under threat… (but) the President seems to be pretty much untouched by all these threats. He is not worried,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing last Thursday.
Abella said President Duterte has put his life, honor and even his presidency on the line for his relentless campaign against drug menace.
”It’s a very heroic stand,” Abella said.
Andanar meanwhile said that phase one of the intensified anti-illegal drug campaign has been successful after more than 600,000 of an estimated 3.8 million Filipino drug dependents surrendered themselves to the authorities.
”The first phase of (the) drug campaign has been very successful. This is (a) massive campaign,” he said.
Police have also arrested more than 10,000 drug dependents and killed more than 800 dealers and users in legitimate police operations.
President Duterte’s aggressive anti-drug campaign has also reduced the crime rate by at least 40 percent in July this year compared to the same period last year. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com