Palace hits SWS ‘nanlaban’ survey, cites 'leading' questions

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2017 08:12 PM

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday slammed the Social Weather Stations (SWS) for supposedly coming up with “leading and pointed” questions in its survey showing that a majority of Filipinos doubt police accounts on drug-related killings.

Released Wednesday, the SWS survey revealed that 54 percent of Filipinos agree with the test statement: “Marami sa mga pinatay ng mga pulis sa kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay hindi totoong nanlaban sa pulis.”

(Many of those killed by the police in the anti-drug campaign did not put up resistance.)

Of the 54 percent, 20 percent "strongly agree" and 34 percent "somewhat agree." Some 25 percent were undecided, 12 percent "somewhat disagree" while 8 percent "strongly disagree."

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella expressed dismay over the survey, saying it “contains leading and pointed questions that may have unduly influenced the answers of respondents.”

“We expect pollsters to exercise prudence and objectivity to arrive at a closer approximation of public sentiment,” he said in a statement.

The survey also showed that nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) agree that many of those killed in police anti-drug operations were not really drug peddlers, while 24 percent disagree and 27 percent were undecided.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents meanwhile either “somewhat agree” or “strongly agree” to the statement that many lie to police by accusing personal enemies of drug links so they would be killed in police operations. Twenty-one percent of the respondents do not agree with this statement, while 28 percent were undecided.

The survey was conducted from June 23 to 26 this year using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults aged 18 years and above nationwide, with 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The survey has a sampling error margin of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power on a platform of eradicating the illegal drug trade, which he believes is the root of criminality. Human rights groups, however, say the campaign has cost the lives of thousands, mostly poor people.

Some 3,800 have been killed in legitimate police anti-illegal drug operations since Duterte assumed power, according to police figures. 

Human rights groups and government critics believe the actual death toll has already breached 13,000, citing the cases of people being killed in unexplained circumstances.

The administration has several times asserted that it does not sanction executions and that it does not condone police abuses.