MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs will not slow down despite a drop in his satisfaction and trust ratings in the latest Social Weather Station survey, his chief legal counsel said.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte is not bothered that his ratings dipped from "very good" to "good" as he does not aspire to be the most popular man in the country.
"The president is unperturbed by this kind of survey. He's been saying that he's not for a popularity contest. He's not running to be the most popular man in the country," he told ANC Monday.
Panelo believes the drop of the President's ratings is due to the reaction of certain sectors to the killing of teenagers like Kian Delos Santos in police operations, which has triggered public outrage in the last months.
"I kinda expected that due to the incidents involving the minor, Kian, and to others. So there was really a reaction from certain sectors of the public," he said.
However, the drop in ratings does not mean that the President will slow down on the war on drugs, as he already warned of a bloody presidency during the campaign.
"During the Cabinet meeting the other day, he said that, 'if they think I will withdraw from this war on drugs, then they're guessing wrong.' He will not desist from what he's done and doing," he said.
A recent SWS survey showed 9 of 10 Filipinos want drug suspects to be arrested alive, while 7 of 10 Filipinos said worry that they or anyone they know will be a victim of extrajudicial killings.
Official government numbers show 3,811 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017. Government data also said there were 6,225 drug-related killings from July 2016 and September 2017.
Panelo defended the huge number of drug personalities killed in police operations, saying all of these are results of gun fights and cops are just protecting themselves.
"I do no think if you're a drug pusher you will allow yourself to be arrested. It's either you or me dead. Would the people rather have the suspects killed or the policemen killed?" he said.
In an Al Jazeera interview, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano admitted the 3,800 people were killed despite not being tried in court. He claimed all these drug suspects resisted arrest.
The Philippine National Police claim that they recorded zero extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, borrowing the definition of EJKs from the previous government.
Panelo said President Duterte will never allow extrajudicial killings under his administration. He said there is a current investigation on complaints involving alleged abuses by policemen.