Top Story

By Raynan F. Javil

Killings worry Filipinos -- survey

Posted on December 19, 2016

MANY FILIPINOS fear they might fall victim to extrajudicial killings (EJK), according to the Fourth Quarter 2016 Social Weather Survey that nevertheless bared widespread support for the administration’s war against the illegal drug trade and for leaving suspects alive.

Results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey -- conducted Dec. 3-6 via face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults nationwide and with sampling error margins of ±3 points -- found that 78% of adult Filipinos are worried that they, or anyone they know, will fall victim to such killings.

This consisted of 45% who were “very worried” that they will be a victim, 33% who were “somewhat worried,” 10% were “not too worried” and 12% who were “not worried at all.”

The same survey also found 71% of respondents saying it is “very important” that drug suspects be caught alive, 23% saying it is “somewhat important,” four percent saying it is “somewhat not important” and one percent replying it is “not at all important.”

The SWS noted that this was similar to the third-quarter survey that saw 71% answering it is “very important” that suspects be caught alive, 23% saying it was “somewhat important,” while it was “somewhat not important” for five percent and “not at all important” for two percent.

Latest available data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that police have killed 2,102 and arrested 40,932 drug suspects through legitimate operations between July 1 -- the first full day of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte -- and Dec. 14. The same data show that 908,244 drug users and pushers surrendered in those five-and-a-half months.

The PNP also recorded 2,886 deaths under investigation (DUIs) between July 1 and Dec. 12, clarifying that these “are cases of murder pending investigation and are not automatically connected with the campaign against drugs.”

Asked: “How serious, in your opinion, is ‘EJK’ in the present administration?” 39% of respondents said it is “very serious,” 30% said it is “somewhat serious,” 22% were “undecided,” and three percent said it is “not serious at all.”

Respondents were divided on policemen’s claim that drug suspects killed had resisted arrest.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said that police were telling the truth (nine percent “definitely the truth”, 19% “probably the truth”) while 29% (16% definitely not the truth, 13% probably not the truth”) believed that the police are not telling the truth. The 42% were unsure whether the police tell the truth when they claim that suspects killed were resisting arrest.

Net public satisfaction with the Duterte administration’s performance in its campaign against the narcotics trade remained “excellent” this quarter.

The survey showed 85% of respondents satisfied with the campaign, consisting of 53% “very satisfied” and 32% “somewhat satisfied.” Seven percent were undecided, while eight percent were dissatisfied (consisting of five percent “somewhat dissatisfied” and three percent “very dissatisfied”).

That yielded an “excellent” net satisfaction rating of +77 (85% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied), steady from the “excellent” +76 (84% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied) logged in the third quarter survey.

SWS classifies net satisfaction ratings of at least +70 as “excellent”; +50 to +69 as “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”; +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad” as well as -70 and below as “execrable.”

The survey also showed that 88% of the respondents agreed that the illegal drug problem in their respective area declined since Mr. Duterte took office at noon of June 30, consisting of 56% said they “strongly agree” with that assessment, 32% who said they “somewhat agree,” nine percent who were “undecided,” two percent who said they “somewhat disagree” and one percent who said they “strongly disagree.”

The fourth-quarter survey also found 70% of respondents saying that the administration is serious about solving the “EJK” problem, consisting of 38% believed the government was “very serious,” 32% who said it was “somewhat serious,” 20% who were “undecided” and six percent who said the administration was “somewhat not serious” in doing so.

Sought for comment, Senior Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos, PNP’s spokesperson, said in a mobile phone reply that the “PNP is one with the Filipino people who want drug suspects who violate the law arrested ALIVE and let them answer for their crime in a court of law.”

“The PNP under Director-General Ronald ‘Bato’ [M.] Dela Rosa ensures the rule of law, protects the rights of every citizen, and accords everyone due process.”

Mr. Carlos said the “police performs its mandate in accordance with existing laws and, therefore, there is nothing to fear as your PNP will do its best to protect the public from any crime, including extra-legal killings.”

In a separate text message, Police Director Oscar D. Albayalde, regional director of PNP’s National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said “there is nothing to fear about being a victim of EJK or legit police operation.”

“The PNP is looking into all killings -- whether DUIs or legit police operations -- and will not tolerate any abuse of power or anybody taking the law into his own hands,” Mr. Albayalde said.

“People have nothing to fear if they are law-abiding citizens.”

According to Mr. Albayalde, the NCRPO arrested 13,281 pushers and users and killed 876 drug suspects between July 1 and Dec. 13.

“This record will show that we are concentrating on arrest as the killed compared to those arrested are just about six percent,” the NCRPO said.

“The killings are maybe just being highlighted instead of the arrests. Rest assured that the PNP has in its paramount consideration the human rights of everyone in every police operation,” Mr. Albayalde added.

“We should unite in our war against drugs to rid this country of illegal drugs and give our children a better future. These drugs pushers are destroying the future of our next generation and, most often than not, are also involved in perpetration heinous crimes,” he continued.

“Because of our relentless campaign on illegal drugs, people in MM (Metro Manila) according to feedback, actually feel safer. Total contrary to the survey! For the record, crimes particularly on properties (like robbery/holdup, theft and carnapping) drastically went down to almost 60% in MM alone.”

Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said in a separate mobile phone reply that the “people’s satisfaction and their opinion that the level and extent of drug problem in their respective areas had lowered underscore the success of the first phase of President Duterte’s anti-drug war.”

“On the worry of Filipinos about becoming victims of extrajudicial killings, we acknowledge our people’s concern as we assure them that the government’s anti-drug operations are not aimed at poor, innocent, hapless individuals,” Mr. Andanar said.

He also said that “the State does not condone extrajudicial killings, including riding-in-tandem murders perpetrated by common criminals wrongly attributed in news reports as part of police operations. Murder is murder.”

“What our authorities are conducting are legitimate police operations that require observance of operational protocols. Police authorities who breach procedures are made to answer before the law,” he added.

Mr. Andanar asserted that the Duterte administration “respects the law and upholds the basic rights of our people, regardless of belief and political persuasion.”