President Rodrigo R. Duterte vowed Thursday to adhere to the rule of law as he tackles the country’s major scourges such as crime, corruption, and proliferation of illegal drugs.
In his inaugural address, he said these major problems must be addressed with urgency as he described them as “mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society.”
He said that corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs affects all strata of Philippine society and result to the breakdown of law and order.
“I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows,” Duterte, the country’s 16th President said.
“But another real problem that confronts the country now is the erosion of faith and trust in government and its leaders,” he said. There could be people opposed to his methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs, and corruption but he said they must also think of the impact of these evils to society.
The new President earlier asked Congress, the Commission on Human Rights, and others to allow his administration a level of governance that is consistent to its mandate.
Duterte said the fight against crime, drugs, and corruption will be relentless and sustained.
“As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the President. I know what is legal and what is not,” he said.
“My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising,” Duterte said. “You mind your work and I will mind mine.”
While he promises real changes, he said no leader can succeed at anything of national importance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people.
President Duterte also asked Filipinos that in order for real change to happen, it must begin in each person.