When it comes to shock value, it’s hard to beat President Rodrigo Duterte. There was that time when he suddenly kissed a married woman in Seoul right on the lips, for instance. And that time he joked about raping a nun. And who could forget the many times he’s bragged about committing murder?
But this week, Dante Jimenez, the newly appointed co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), did something that might be a bridge too far, even for the president: he signed a document in front of the media using his own blood.
The very goth stunt took place yesterday at Malacañang Palace, and started somberly enough, with Jimenez giving a five-minute speech about how the murder of his brother Buboy in 1990 led him to establish the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, a pro-Duterte group noted for filing cases against opposition leaders Senator Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes.
Buboy was killed by drug syndicates in a case of mistaken identity.
“From the day I held my brother Buboy’s body in my arms that fell by a bullet or two that pierced through his brain, I have become a different Dante Jimenez… I pledge to continue the war against illegal drugs waged by the President as promised from the time of his campaign to this day,” Jimenez said.
A man then appears beside Jimenez and pricks his finger (no gloves — gross), at which point the new ICAD chair puts a bloody thumbprint on his acceptance letter. (Skip to about four minutes into the video below to see it yourself.)
“I sign this acceptance with my own blood, to represent the thousands of victims of illegal drugs, and as a manifestation of my commitment to the unrelenting war against this social menace that must be destroyed by all means,” Jimenez said.
Riiiiight. As if the drug war wasn’t bloody enough already. (Also, in case it’s escaped Mr. Jimenez, signing documents in blood kinda reminds us of those old folktales where the protagonist signs a deal with the devil — and we all know how those turn out.)
Jimenez will certainly have his work cut out for him. When he announced the drug war upon taking office, Duterte promised he’d have the country’s drug problem under control in a matter of months. Now, some three years later, even he has acknowledged that his approach has fallen short, even though the campaign has left thousands of suspected drug users dead.
Just last month, the country’s top drug enforcement cop was even blunter in his assessment, saying the approach “definitely did not work,” and that drugs in the country were “still rampant.”
Anyway, good luck with the new post, Mr. Jimenez. The last person who held the position, Vice President Leni Robredo, didn’t stay very long, but with that blood on your contract, you just might last longer than she did — for better or worse.
This article, Deal with the Devil? Anti-drugs chair Jimenez signs acceptance letter in blood, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!