‘SWS poll shows Pinoys have common sense’
A Catholic bishop says Filipinos still have common sense after a survey found that a majority of adults in the country believed that those killed in the war on drugs did not fight back (“nanlaban”), but Malacañang can’t seem to make sense of the finding.
“Even if many of us have known this all along, the survey result is definitely still an encouraging sign,” said Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The prelate made the remarks in reaction to the nationwide survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) from June 23 to 26, which showed that 54 percent did not believe that those felled in the war on drugs had put up resistance.
Doubt about the police claim that suspects had fought back and thus had to be shot was more pronounced in Metro Manila at 63 percent and among Class E (the poorest) at 58 percent.
Most of the reported killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs have occurred in Metro Manila, many of them in the bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and claimed the lives of mostly the poor.
David said the survey “merely shows that most Pinoys know how to follow their basic common sense.”
The survey also found that 49 percent of the respondents nationwide and 58 percent in Metro Manila believed that the victims were not drug pushers.
“It does not make sense that a drug suspect who knows he’ll surely die if he engages heavily armed policemen in a special operation in a firefight would still fight,” David said.
The bishop added that some of the casualties of the war on drugs had no involvement in illegal drugs.
“But even presuming that they are involved in drugs, I know of no law that says they can just be summarily executed,” he said.
For its part, Malacañang said it was surprised over the people’s apparent distrust of the police version of events in drug-related killings, given the strong public support for Mr. Duterte and his actions.
“It’s surprising vis-à-vis the approval of most people, 86 percent, 70 in the high percentiles,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in apparent reference to the results of a survey by the American think tank Pew Research Center.
“So, it’s a little bit surprising that there’s this sudden shift, seems to be a sudden shift in the approval, in the perception,” he added.
Before Kian’s killing
The Pew survey shows that 86 percent of Filipinos have a favorable view of the President, while 78 percent approve of how he is handling the illegal drug campaign.
The Pew and the SWS surveys were conducted before the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in a police drug operation in Caloocan City.
Delos Santos’ killing drew public outrage after security camera footage showed the boy being dragged by police officers toward the area where he would be shot dead.
The footage contradicted the police version that Delos Santos had shot it out with them.
Winning back support
Abella said the President did not need to win back public support for his centerpiece program.
“The President needs just to continue doing what he’s doing because … based on recent surveys also, (his) approval rating is very, very high and the acceptance of what he does is very, very high,” Abella said.
The killings that have attended the war on drugs have drawn criticisms in the country and abroad. The President has countered criticism of the campaign with curses and threats.
Mr. Duterte and police officials have denied allegations of extrajudicial killings by police enforcing the crackdown, which has left thousands of people dead since he became President last year.
Appearing to bury the term “extrajudicial killings (EJKs),” the Philippine National Police came up on Thursday with statistics on homicide cases nationwide showing only a small fraction was related to illegal drugs.
The PNP said there were nearly 16,000 homicide cases, previously called “deaths under inquiry,” from July last year to Sept. 15 this year out of which only 398 or 2.5 percent were drug-related.
At a press conference, the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, said, “There are different motives in the homicide cases,” taking exception to the fact that a number of them, particularly those related to illegal drugs, were being termed extrajudicial killings, which should not be the case.
“Our records will show the drug-related cases are about 2.5 percent of all homicide cases nationwide. So the rest of the homicides that are happening in the Philippines are of different motives,” he said.
He added, “Most of the cases are motivated by personal grudge, heated argument, rido (clan war), or love triangle.”
“It is very clear that we do not have extrajudicial killings here and it has not reached 13,000,” Carlos said, referring to the 9,782 homicide cases still under investigation.
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