Malacañang said it is up to outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte whether to accept the invitation of president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to be his anti-illegal drugs czar.
“When it comes to that, there is no legal impediment for a former president to assume an executive position in the executive branch. Now whether President Duterte will accept that is up to him,” acting deputy presidential spokesperson Kristian Ablan said.
Ablan, however, said many believe the outgoing President is looking forward to his retirement.
“We welcome this news since the President himself said that the fight against illegal drugs must continue. [But] as far as we know, the President is looking forward to his retirement,” he added.
Marcos earlier disclosed that Duterte asked him to continue the government’s anti-drug campaign “his own way.”
He said it would not be a problem if Duterte wants to join his administration as the anti-drugs czar.
The President-elect said he and Duterte have met more than once, with at least one of those meetings happening before the May 9 elections.
“Even before the election, he’s been saying that these things, continue them, please, that is the request. He said that is so important to him. And still of course his priority has always been the anti-drug problem,” Marcos said.
“One thing that he was very assertive about was ‘continue the anti-drug syndicate that I started. Do it your own way.’ He really said that,” he added.
Duterte won the 2016 presidential race due to his hardline stance against illegal drugs and criminality.
During his term, Duterte came under fire from human rights groups over allegations of summary executions in the drug war.