MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. fired back Monday against his incendiary predecessor Rodrigo Duterte who called him a “drug addict,” saying the former leader’s fentanyl use could have affected his judgment.
“I think it’s fentanyl,” Marcos told reporters shortly before leaving for Vietnam in response to claims Duterte made Sunday while speaking at a rally in his hometown of Davao against measures aimed at amending the country’s constitution.
Asked about accusations of drug use and the call for his resignation, Marcos said the former president “has been taking this drug for a very long time now…after five, six years, it must be affecting him.”
In 2016, Duterte admitted that he took fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, to relieve pain after a motorcycle accident.
“I hope his doctors will take better care of him,” Marcos said.
Duterte also said that Marcos was on the anti-drug agency’s so-called “narcotics list” submitted to him while he was still mayor of Davao City, an accusation that the Philippine drug enforcement agency drugs vehemently denied.
Duterte’s accusations come after his son, the outgoing mayor of Davao, called on Marcos to resign, citing his alleged failures to fight crime and a foreign policy that “endangers the lives of innocent Filipinos.”
Former President Duterte was criticized internationally for launching a brutal campaign against illegal drugs when he took power in 2016, killing more than 6,000 dealers who police said had resisted arrest during anti-drug operations.
The International Criminal Court allowed an investigation into the killings to resume, but Marcos said his government would not cooperate.
(Reporting by Mikhail Flores; Editing by Michael Perry)