A FORMER ally of President Rodrigo R. Duterte who is running for president on Monday said the tough-talking leader had failed in his war against illegal drugs.

“What a waste,” Senator Panfilo M. Lacson told Bombo Radyo. “If he had only capitalized on his overwhelming mandate, his popularity and good intentions, we could have succeeded,” he said in Filipino.

Mr. Lacson said the government could have solved the country’s illegal drug problem with proper enforcement. “He could have resolved it within the rule of law and without the Philippine National Police having to resort to extrajudicial means.”

Mr. Duterte only focused on law enforcement, Mr. Lacson, a former police general, said. “It should have been a holistic, comprehensive approach.”

He added that the President could have avoided a probe by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity had he done it properly.

Mr. Lacson also faulted Mr. Duterte’s allegedly unequal treatment when it came to his fight against corruption.

“Along the way, in the implementation, we saw that he doesn’t just have one standard,” he said, adding that presidential friends often got away with it.

Mr. Duterte last year barred Cabinet officials from attending a Senate investigation of alleged anomalies at the Health department, saying it was a waste of time.

Mr. Lacson said the president’s friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping had not helped resolve the sea dispute between the two nations. Thousands of Filipino fishermen lost their livelihood and billions of pesos worth of aquatic resources were destroyed as a result, he added.

The lawmaker said the government had let Chinese vessels bully Filipino fishermen in the South China Sea and failed to back a United Nations-backed arbitral ruling until the last year of Mr. Duterte’s six-year term. That ruling invalidated China’s claim to more than 80% of the disputed sea.

Filipinos will choose Mr. Duterte’s replacement in elections on May 9.

Meanwhile Mr. Lacson separately told DZBB Radio he would not set a deadline for his goals as president, including the fight against illegal narcotics.

“We don’t need to impose a deadline,” he said. “We just have to do and execute them well. Even if we don’t have a deadline, success will follow.”  

His administration’s campaign against illegal drugs would be led by his running mate, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and would focus on prevention and rehabilitation, Mr. Lacson said.

The country’s drug problem could not be solved by killing people, he added.

Mr. Lacson at the weekend told GMA Network a balance of power is needed in the South China Sea. He also agreed to legalize jueteng, an illegal number game. He likewise cited the need to ban political dynasties and force public officials to disclose their net worth and medical records.

All four candidates, who said suspected drug pushers got killed under President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s drug war, favored rejoining the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Lacson also said he had nothing to do with the summary execution of gang members in 1995 and the murder of a publicist and his driver in 2000.

A trial court cleared him for lack of probable cause in the Kuratong Baleleng gang massacre case. He was also cleared in the 2000 double-murder case after evading arrest for more than a year. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan