Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey show that Filipinos appreciate the current administration’s efforts to reduce the incidence of crime and make communities safer and more peaceful. PCOO

Palace: Pulse Asia poll shows people’s appreciation of drug crackdown
(Philstar.com) - October 16, 2017 - 10:35am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday welcomed the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey which found that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos support the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the results show that Filipinos appreciate the current administration’s efforts to reduce the incidence of crime and make communities safer and more peaceful.

Out of the 1,200 people surveyed in Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan, 88 percent expressed their support for the administration’s war on drugs despite their belief that extrajudicial killings happen.

Only 2 percent are not supportive of the campaign while 9 percent were unable to say if they support President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called drug war or not. 

Abella also hoped that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's taking of the reins of the anti-illegal drugs campaign would continue “to win near-universal support while addressing the public’s concern over unlawful suspect deaths.”

READMajority of Filipinos support drug war, believe EJKs occur — Pulse Asia

On belief that EJKs occur

Responding to the finding that 73 percent of Filipinos believe that extrajudicial killings are taking place in the course of the war on drugs, Abella said the “massive media coverage” of Caloocan youth killings might have affected the respondents.

“These suspicions, however, must always be validated by investigation and evidence, and that is the job of the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation, if ordered to investigate such incidents,” Abella said.

The Palace and the PNP have maintained the position that there has been no extrajudicial killing in the country based on criteria established by Administrative Order 35. The order created an inter-agency council to investigate extrajudicial killings and lists the criteria for cases that the new body was supposed to focus on.   

READPNP: 6,225 drug-related deaths, no extrajudicial killings

On worries that Filipinos might be the next Kian

Seventy-six percent of those aware of the death of 17-year-old schoolboy Kian delos Santos expressed worry that they or someone they know would be killed in the administration’s anti-drugs campaign.

Only 11 percent said they are worried while 13 percent were unable to say if they are worried or not. 

Abella said the public’s sentiment is understandable as the government shares the concern of many Filipinos over unlawful killings possibly perpetrated in the anti-drug campaign.

“As we have previously said, even one death is one too many. The president has made it absolutely clear that killing unarmed suspects who do not resist arrest is never allowed and will be punished,” the presidential spokesperson said.

Duterte, who is known for openly contradicting his own statements, said he never ordered the police to kill drug suspects despite previous speeches where he remarked encouraging cops to make drug suspects fight back and finish them off.

READWATCH: Did Duterte encourage killing of drug suspects?

On Church’s cooperation

According to the latest survey, 58 percent of the respondents would like the Catholic Church to assist in the rehabilitation of drug personalities.

Abella said the administration has always been open to this idea but hit the Church for being a staunch critic of the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“We appeal to the Catholic Church hierarchy to encourage some of its leaders to be more cautious in their pronouncements that drive a wedge among the flock. These same leaders are at the core of the division within the Church that is proving to be an impediment to the complementary work of the church and the government,” he said.

The Catholic Church is one of the institutions critical of the president's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs because of its belief in the right to life. 

Early in October, Abella also slammed church leaders who offered sanctuary and protection to cops who confessed their participation in extrajudicial killings because it might affect the government’s campaign against illegal narcotics. 

READPalace advises Church vs sheltering cops involved in EJKs

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