PNP says media sensationalized figures of drug kills
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday dismissed as “sensationalized and misinterpreted data” claims from some media sectors and Vice President Leni Robredo that President Duterte’s war on drugs had resulted in more than 7,000 extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
In its latest report, the PNP put confirmed drug-related deaths in the eight months of the Duterte presidency at 1,398.
In a press briefing, Dela Rosa denied that the administration was sponsoring the killing of drug suspects and slammed sectors out to demolish Mr. Duterte’s centerpiece program.
“They want to discredit the war on drugs because the war on drugs is the face of the Duterte administration. The brickbats for that are for the President. Who are they hitting? It’s the President and the administration that they want to discredit,” Dela Rosa said.
“That 7,000 came from the media. Let’s face it. Let’s be frank about it. That 7,000 EJK did not come from the PNP. My apologies to the media who are very accurate in their reporting. When I say media, I don’t mean all the media but there are those who erroneously report that 7,000,” he added.
Director Augusto Marquez Jr., head of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, said that from July 1, 2016, to March 24, 2017, there were a total of 6,011 killings or “homicides” in the country.
Of this number, 1,398 were confirmed to be drug-related while 828 were not drug related. The rest—3,785 cases—remained under investigation, Marquez said.
However, the PNP on Jan. 31—a day after Mr. Duterte suspended the drug war—reported that 2,555 “drug personalities” had been killed since the antidrug campaign started in July. When asked about this, Marquez said that figure included other homicide cases that were not necessarily drug-related.
Rise in murder cases
A comparison of the last 52 weeks of the Aquino administration and the first 37 weeks of the Duterte administration also showed a 31-percent increase in the daily average of murder cases reported to the police.
Of the 828 cases that were confirmed to be not related to illegal drugs, 751 were due to personal grudges, 22 due to property disputes, 20 involved a “love triangle,” 13 were killed by threat groups like communist insurgents or bandits, 10 due to family disputes, 11 were work-related and one case involved the killing of an activist.
Marquez also said that of the 6,011 homicide cases, 1,427 had been resolved and 4,584 were still for “case buildup.”
“We just want to disprove the persistent and irritating claim by some sectors that there are 7,000 EJKs that they present not just to the local community but also to the international community. I just want to disprove that allegation so that the public would not be misled by that reporting,” Dela Rosa said.
“Some sectors want to make it appear that the killings are (state)-sponsored when in fact we deny in the highest possible terms the claim,” he said. “I myself can’t stomach that I will give the order to kill a person.”
Dela Rosa also said he was hopeful that Robredo would also be enlightened by the PNP clarification.
“We are not trying to discredit her. We respect her highly as the Vice President but we just want to correct what she said. She is the Vice President so the data coming for her should also be correct,” he said.
In a video message to a United Nations conference in Austria, Robredo said more than 7,000 people had been summarily killed in the Duterte administration’s war against drugs.
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