MANILA—Malacañang on Friday said the high number of drug surrenderers prove that the Philippines is not governed by killing, contrary to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s statement.
“The 1,308,078 drug personalities who voluntarily surrendered, as of July 26, 2017, belie the claim that ‘We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal and we cannot govern the nation by killing,’” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The Palace issued the retort after Tagle asserted that the Philippines “cannot be governed by violence.”
“We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killings, we cannot foster a humane and decent Filipino culture by killing,” Tagle said in a statement released by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
Abella, meanwhile, thanked Tagle for conducting a dialogue last Aug. 25 on how to best resolve the illegal drug problem in the country.
“The illegal drug problem affects us all and we appreciate the initiative of His Eminence to have a multi-sectoral dialogue attended by bishops, representatives from relevant government agencies, media and the youth,” he said.
The Duterte administration has many times defended its drug war, saying reported figures -- from 7,000 to 9,000 killed -- were overblown.
Recent PNP data show that a total of 3,451 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017.
The PNP also said that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 not drug-related.
A total of 8,200 homicide cases were under investigation "with motives to be determined," the PNP said.