Palace says war on drugs 'demonized'
MANILA (UPDATE)- Majority of Filipinos believe authorities committed "many" human rights abuses in its anti-narcotics campaign, an independent Social Weather Stations poll released Sunday showed.
Of 1,200 Filipino adults polled from Dec. 13 to 16, 76 percent said there were "many" violation of human rights in the administration's drug war, while 24 percent said there were "few" human rights abuses.
The survey also found 73 percent saying that the number of illegal drug users decreased after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, while 14 percent said it increased, and 12 percent said it stayed the same.
Some 5,000 drug suspects were killed from July 2016 to November 2019, authorities' data show, but rights groups say the actual number of dead could be at least 3 times higher.
The UN Human Rights Council in July approved a resolution to investigate the anti-narcotics drive. The International Criminal Court is conducting a preliminary examination of allegations of crimes against humanity.
More than half or 56 percent also agreed with the UN Human Rights Council's decision to look into the alleged extrajudicial killings under the drug war.
Twenty percent disagreed and 24 percent were undecided, SWS said.
Nearly half or 49 percent said the removal of Vice President Leni Robredo as drug war co-chair was government's admission that its campaign was failing, while 21 percent disagreed, and 30 percent were undecided.
The figure is equivalent to a +28 net agreement score, which SWS classifies as "moderately strong."
Forty-four percent said Duterte was sincere in appointing Robredo as drug war co-chair, while 27 percent said he was insincere and 29 percent were undecided.
In November 2019, Duterte tapped Robredo as drug war co-chair only to fire her after 18 days due to alleged missteps.
These include requesting for unlimited access to information on the drug war, including a list of high-value drug suspects, and her consultations with organizations and people critical of the government’s war on drugs.
Robredo had the right to see the list of high-value drug targets, according to 60 percent of those polled, while 15 percent disagreed and 25 percent were undecided.
The SWS poll has a margin of error of ±3 percent for national percentages.
PALACE SAYS DRUG WAR 'DEMONIZED'
Malacañang on Monday said the survey results were not surprising as the anti-narcotics campaign was "demonized" by President Duterte's critics.
Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said the constant condemnation of the war on drugs gained an "undeserved currency."
"A lie repeated many times over is somehow stamped with a perception of truth," he said.
Panelo said Duterte was "unconcerned about the popularity of his policies."
"He (Duterte) remains obedient to the constitutional command to him of serving and protecting the Filipino people regardless of the consequences to his life, honor, and liberty," Panelo said,