Palace 'surprised' at SWS results on public perception of anti-drug ops

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2017 06:08 PM

MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said it was “surprising” that a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that a majority of Filipinos doubt police accounts on drug-related killings despite the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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.)

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the survey does not seem to echo the public’s high approval of the President.

“Considering the fact that most people continue to approve the President, his actions and intentions, these ‘results’ which you call alarming, seem to have been - it’s surprising,” Abella said in a news conference.

“It’s a little bit surprising there seems to be a sudden shift in the perception,” he added.

A June survey by SWS showed 78 percent of Filipinos were satisfied with the President's performance compared to 12 percent dissatisfied and 10 percent undecided. This resulted to a net satisfaction rating of +66, marking a new personal record high for Duterte. 

Another June survey of another major pollster, Pulse Asia, Duterte received an approval rate of 82 percent and a trust rating of 81 percent.

“The approval rating [of the President] is very high and the acceptance of what he does is very high. It’s surprising there seems to be this shift,” Abella said.

The latest SWS 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.

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

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.