THREE out of four Filipinos believe there were many human rights abuses, including extra judicial killings (EJKs), committed in the implementation of the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs, the fourth quarter 2019 survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from December 13-16 showed.
The survey, which involved 1,200 adult respondents nationwide and had an error margin of ±3 percent, indicated that 76 percent of Filipinos think that law enforcers committed human rights abuses, among them unwarranted killings (33 percent said very many while 42 percent, somewhat many). On the other hand, 24 percent said there were few (3 percent very few, 21 percent only a few) abuses committed.
The non-commissioned survey also showed that 56 percent of the respondents approved of the investigation initiated by the United Nations Human Rights Council into the drug war following the alleged commission of EJKs (21 percent strongly agreed, 34 percent somewhat agreed), while 20 percent disagreed (11 percent somewhat disagreed, 9 percent strongly disagreed).
This resulted in a net agreement score of +36 (percent of agreement minus percent of disagreement).
Likewise, the SWS survey also showed that 73 percent of respondents believed that that the number of illegal drug users dropped (28 percent dropped a lot, 46 percent somewhat dropped) since President Duterte took office in July 2016, while 14 percent said the number of users increased (6 percent increased a lot, 8 percent increased somewhat).
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, said the survey results were not surprising especially after the administration’s war on drugs “has been demonized by the relentless disinformation launched by the President’s vocal critics and the political opposition at its inception and not without the cooperation of some shameless media outlets.”
Panelo said the lie repeatedly peddled by the opposition have “somehow stamped with a perception of truth… These rambunctious peddlers of disinformation have associated the extra-judicial killings (EJKs), which are not state initiated, with the government’s drug-related operations. This constant vilification had gained an undeserved currency. As we have repeatedly articulated, the drug-related deaths occur by reason of the violent resistance by the suspects in buy-bust and police operations, endangering the lives of the law enforcers, hence their resort to self-defense sanctioned by law. Other deaths are results of internecine or killings within the drug organization.”
As he has often said, Panelo said President Duterte was neither affected nor concerned with the SWS survey results. He said the President remains “resolute in enforcing our laws in eliminating illegal narcotics.”
The last quarter SWS report indicated that 56 percent of Filipinos were aware of the dismissal of Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD), while 43 percent did not know about it.
It also found that 44 percent of the respondents believed that President Duterte was sincere when he appointed the Vice President to ICAD (16 percent definitely sincere, 28 percent somewhat sincere), while 27 percent said he was insincere (12 percent definitely insincere, 15 percent somewhat insincere).
Forty-nine (49) percent of the respondents also agreed that the removal of Robredo from ICAD was “an admission by the administration that its war (on illegal drugs) is falling” (18 percent strongly agreed, 31 percent somewhat agreed), while 21 percent disagreed (10 percent strongly disagreed, 11 percent somewhat disagreed). Thirty percent were undecided if they agreed with the statement.