MANILA (UPDATE) - Most Filipinos believe police officers are involved in extrajudicial killings, the illegal drug trade, and planting of evidence against drug suspects, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed Wednesday.
The report came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte said his campaign against illegal drugs, criticized globally for alleged summary killings, would be "harsher in the days to come."
He has fiercely defended the campaign, saying those slain had resisted arrest and that police officers who abuse authority would be prosecuted.
Of 1,440 respondents in the December survey, 66 percent said the allegation that police officers are involved in executing drug suspects are "definitely or probably true," while 28 percent said they are "undecided." Five percent said it was "definitely or probably not true."
Belief in police involvement in drug killings is highest in Metro Manila at 72 percent, followed by Balance Luzon at 67 percent, and Visayas and Mindanao at 63 percent each.
Meanwhile, 58 percent said they believe police officers plant evidence on drug suspects, 33 percent are "undecided," and 9 percent believe it is "definitely or probably not true."
The survey also found that 68 percent of Filipinos believe that policemen are involved in the illegal drug trade, with 26 percent "undecided" and 5 percent saying the allegation is "definitely or probably not true."
The latest survey also showed that more Filipinos- 44 percent- are undecided on whether or not they believe police officers who claim that drug suspects killed in operations had resisted arrest.
An equal number are on opposing ends: 28 percent believe police are not telling truth and another 28 percent believe otherwise.
This results in zero net opinion on police truthfulness, the SWS said, similar to results in June 2018.
Net opinion about the truthfulness of the police’s “nanlaban” claims was lowest in Metro Manila at -11, followed by Balance Luzon at -3, Visayas at +3, and Mindanao at +11.
PNP: WE FOLLOW RULE OF LAW
Reacting to the survey, the PNP on Thursday said it follows the law in all its operations.
PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Bernard Banac, insisted that all police units respect human rights.
"We assure the public the PNP subscribes to the rule of law. All anti-drug operations are done with utmost respect for human rights and human life," he told reporters in a media briefing.
The government's anti-narcotics campaign has seen some 5,000 drug suspects killed since 2016, but human rights groups say this figure is severely understated.
The campaign has drawn widespread criticism for alleged state-sponsored killings, which the government has denied.
The fourth quarter poll was conducted from December 16 to 19. It has a margin of error of ±2.6 percent for national figures.
- with a report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News