MANILA - More than 5,600 homicide cases remain unsolved in nine months after President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power and ordered a campaign against illegal drugs, police officials admitted on Tuesday.
Data from the Philippine National Police showed at least 9,432 homicide cases recorded from July 2016 to March 2017.
Authorities have yet to determine the motive for the killings in 5,691 cases, Chief Supt. Augusto Marquez, PNP Director for Investigation and Detective Management, said in a press conference.
"Investigations take time. We have to hear witnesses, conduct forensic examinations. We have to know what really happened," he said.
Marquez attributed an increase of 1,905 unsolved killings in a span of a week (March 24 to 31) to delays in the filing of cases.
"It was just a matter of investigators and crime registrars not reporting and encoding (immediately)," Marquez said.
The government said only 1,847 or 19.6 percent of the total deaths under the Duterte administration were drug-related, while 1,894 or 20.1 percent were deaths accounted for motives that were not related to drugs.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Gen. Isidro Lapeña said the number of homicide cases in the country that caught the ire of the international community and human rights organizations is not expected to pull down Duterte's satisfaction and approval ratings.
"The president was catapulted to the presidency because there was a problem in drugs and the 16 million people who voted for him expect him to deliver on his campaign promise," Lapeña said.
Despite number of unsolved killings, there has been a 45 percent drop in incidents of rape, physical injury, carnapping, robbery, and theft under the Duterte administration, police officials said.