Drug war not aimed at ‘poor, innocent, hapless individuals’--Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2016 04:43 PM

The body of a man is pictured with a gun under his hand, whom police said was killed during a drug bust operation on "shabu" (meth), in Manila, Philippines on August 18, 2016. Ezra Acayan/Reuters/File

Malacañang on Monday assured Filipinos that its war on drugs is not aimed at “at poor, innocent, hapless individuals,” and reiterated that alleged extrajudicial killings are not sponsored by the state.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Monday showed that almost eight out of every 10 Filipinos fear they might be a victim of rampant killings amid the government's intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

The survey showed that 78 percent of 1,500 respondents in the December 3 to 6 poll said they were worried that they or anyone they know will die due to the drug fight.

“We recognize our people's concern as we assure them that the government's anti-drug operations are not aimed at poor, innocent, hapless individuals,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

“Extrajudicial killings are not state-sponsored and we denounce riding-in-tandem murders perpetrated by common criminals wrongly attributed in news reports as part of police operations,” he added, emphasizing that “murder is murder.”

President Rodrigo Duterte recorded a 77 percent net public satisfaction rating or "very good" in the last quarter of 2016, a December 3-6 SWS survey released last week showed.

Andanar added that what authorities are conducting are “legitimate police operations that require observance of operational protocols,” and that law enforcers who violate protocols are made to answer the law.

“Suspected drug personalities who resist and fight back with arms have to be dealt with appropriately. The proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” Andanar said.

The communications secretary, however, noted that even though there are 78 percent of Filipinos who worry about extrajudicial killings, the figure is “not far” from the 70 percent who think that the Duterte administration is serious in addressing the problem of EJKs.

“Rest assured that the Duterte administration respects the law and upholds the basic rights of our people, regardless of beliefs and political persuasions,” he said.

Andanar also thanked Filipinos for their continued expression of satisfaction on the war against drugs which remained almost steady at 85 percent from last quarter’s 84 percent.

“Almost nine of ten Filipinos further said that the drug problem in their areas lowered since the President took office on June 30,” he said.

As of December 13, a total of 2,695 drug fatalities have been recorded since May 10, data from the ABS-CBN Research and Investigative Group showed.

Of this number, 999 were killed by unidentified assailants while 1,508 died in police operations.