MANILA- There has only been one case of extrajudicial killing under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said Friday.
Carlos said from July 1, 2016 up to Sept. 30, 2017, only one case of extrajudicial killing has been recorded, that of slain journalist Larry Que in Catanduanes.
He made the statement to allay fears of Filipinos who worry that they may become a victim of extrajudicial killings after results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 73 percent of Filipinos still worry that they or anyone they know will be a victim of extrajudicial killings.
"The PNP protects every individual's right to life. To allay or remove their fear of becoming victims of EJK, let it be known that under the present administration, there is only one case of extra-judicial killing or EJK for the period July 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017," Carlos said in a text message.
Carlos added that the possibility of people becoming a victim of extrajudicial killing is very remote, "if based on facts and not on impression or perception."
'WE ALSO WANT THEM ALIVE'
Carlos also noted that the PNP shares the sentiments of most Filipinos who want drug suspects caught alive.
In an SWS survey, 90 percent of 1,200 respondents said it is important to capture drug suspects alive. Of the said figure, 68 percent said it is "very important" to arrest drug suspects alive, while 22 percent said it is "somewhat important."
Carlos said that from July 1, 2016 to Sept. 30 this year, police arrested a total of 109,090 drug offenders who are all alive and are now facing criminal charges in court.
Police under the term of President Duterte have been criticized for doubts on the conduct of their anti-drug operations particularly "Oplan Tokhang," where cops knock at the doors of suspected drug users and peddlers to ask them to surrender.
The administration has several times defended the campaign, saying drug suspects killed in legitimate police operations had put up violent resistance.
Latest police estimates placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate police operations at 3,800. Human rights groups meanwhile placed the figure at 13,000, which the administration has described as overblown.
Police, under their Oplan Tokhang program, meanwhile conducted a total of 8,794,120 house visits nationwide that resulted in the voluntary surrender of 1,260,196 drug personalities, Carlos said.
The said surrenderees were accorded the "opportunity to change," he added.
The PNP spokesperson said these actions prove that the PNP values the right to life of victims of illegal drugs.
"The drug suspects who surrendered and were arrested alive comprise the approximate 99.98 percent results of the PNP campaign against drugs," he said.
"The PNP will continue to exert best effort to improve the crime environment with less crime incidents that may victimize the people," he added.
The SWS surveyed 300 adults each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao from June 23 to 26.
It had sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
-report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News