Seventy-three percent of Filipinos believe extrajudicial killings are occurring in the conduct of the President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s war on drugs. AP/Aaron Favila, File

Pulse: 88% back drug war; 73% say EJKs happen
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly nine in 10 Filipinos support the Duterte administration’s war on drugs but many of them believe it triggered the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, the latest Pulse Asia survey shows.

Conducted from Sept. 24 to 30 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, the Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan nationwide survey found 88 percent of Filipinos expressing support for the campaign, while two percent said otherwise.

Nine percent of the respondents could not say whether or not they support the drug war, while less than one percent of Filipinos are unable to state their position on the matter.

Seventy-three percent of Filipinos believe extrajudicial killings are occurring in the conduct of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. 

This view was echoed by majorities in all areas and classes (67 percent to 78 percent and 70 percent to 77 percent, respectively).

On the other hand, 20 percent of Filipinos do not believe EJKs are happening in the implementation of the war on drugs. Almost one in 10 Filipinos (seven percent) refused to answer the question.

“During the period June to September 2017, there is a decline in the percentage of Filipinos who do not believe EJKs are occurring in the conduct of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign,” Pulse Asia said.

Belief that EJKs are taking place in the course of the administration’s implementation of its war on drugs was highest in President Duterte’s home region Mindanao (+17 percentage points).

Almost eight in 10 or 76 percent also expressed fear that they, a member of their family, a relative or an acquaintance may experience the same fate as 17-year-old Kian delos Santos due to the implementation of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Delos Santos was killed in anti-illegal drug operation in Caloocan City last August.

This sentiment is shared by big majorities in each geographic area and socio-economic class (74 percent to 84 percent and 71 percent to 81 percent, respectively).

Most Filipinos (58 percent) also said the leaders of the Catholic Church should help with the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Forty-six percent said the leaders of the Catholic Church should monitor the conduct of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Twenty-eight percent said the Catholic Church leadership should assist in litigating alleged abusive law enforcers.

Only one in 10 Filipinos would like the Catholic Church to take a hands-off policy when it comes to the war on drugs (13 percent) or to embark on an international campaign to exert pressure on the Duterte administration to suspend “Oplan Tokhang” (11 percent).

But in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released last Sunday, Duterte’s net satisfaction ratings plummeted by 18 points. It dropped to +48 from +66 in June.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the bloody war on drugs is one of the factors for the sharp decline in Duterte’s satisfaction ratings in the SWS survey.

“We don’t receive the support of the majority of the Filipino people so hinto tayo (we should stop),” Dela Rosa said.

Data from the PNP showed there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths in the country between July 2016 and September 2017.

But Malacañang has maintained there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, noting that the slain drug offenders either fought with policemen or were killed by narcotics syndicates.

Palace welcomes poll results

Malacañang welcomed the results of the Pulse Asia poll and vowed to strengthen its collaboration with non-government groups to ensure the success of the anti-drug campaign.  

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the campaign’s focus is expected to shift to arresting drug personalities and rehabilitating addicts. 

“We are pleased with Pulse Asia’s September 2017 survey showing that more than eight out of 10 Filipinos support the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. This goes to show that our people appreciate the administration’s efforts to reduce the incidence of crime and make the streets safer and the communities more peaceful,” Abella said in a statement. 

“With the return of anti-narcotics operations to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, we expect the focus to shift to arrests of drug lords and narco-politicians, the interdiction of smuggled or locally made drugs and the prevention and rehabilitation of addiction, in collaboration with LGUs (local government units), Church, civil society and community groups,” he added.  

Abella said the executive branch is hopeful that the approach would “continue to win near-universal support while addressing the public’s concern over unlawful suspect deaths.”

Abella said 73 percent of respondents believe that extrajudicial killings are happening because of the “massive media coverage” of the Caloocan youth killings.

“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,” he said. 

Abella said the respondents’ concerns that they may suffer a fate similar to that of Delos Santos was understandable. 

“We also share 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,” he added. 

Abella said the administration has always been open to collaborating with the Catholic Church in the war on drugs. 

“It is unfortunate that the Church has been a staunch critic of the government’s anti-illegal drug 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,” he said. 

“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 government.”

Abella said the Church should “pro-actively help government” in the second phase of our anti-illegal drug campaign, which is focused on the rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents, which include the restoration of mental, spiritual and psycho-emotional health. – With Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Cecille Suerte Felipe

 

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