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7 of 10 Filipinos think rights violated in Duterte’s drug war

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PHILSTAR/MIGUEL ANTONIO DE GUZMAN

SEVEN of 10 Filipinos think human rights violations had been committed in President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s deadly war on drugs, according to the latest poll by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The polling firm’s December poll showed that 76% of Filipinos thought human rights had been violated, even as 73% thought the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign had cut the number of drug users.

Mr. Duterte had promised to eradicate the country’s illegal drug menace, a foundation of his presidential campaign in 2016.

Philippine police have said about 6,000 people have died in illegal drug raids, many of them resisting arrest. Some local nongovernmental organizations and the national Commission on Human Rights have placed the death toll at more than 27,000.

Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, the opposition leader whom Mr. Duterte had put in charge of his drug war in November — only to fire her weeks after because he said he didn’t trust her — last week said the campaign had failed, with only 1% of illegal drugs seized by police. She also cited inconsistencies in drug data released by different agencies.

The SWS poll showed that 60% of Filipinos agreed that Ms. Robredo should have been allowed to see the government’s list of high-value drug targets.

SWS said 56% agreed with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s investigation of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

SWS interviewed 1,200 adults for the poll, which had an error margin of ±3%.

Presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said the palace was “unsurprised” by the findings because the war on drugs had been “demonized by relentless misinformation” by Mr. Duterte’s critics and the opposition.

“These rambunctious peddlers of disinformation have associated the extrajudicial killings, which are not state-initiated, with the government’s drug-related operations,” he said in a statement. “This constant vilification have gained an undeserved currency.”

He said the deaths linked to drugs was due to “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.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas





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