MANILA - Malacañang assailed Tuesday a study by some of the country's top schools claiming that poor Filipinos are the most vulnerable in the government's anti-narcotics drive.
The study said there were 5,021 drug-related killings reported by various media organizations from May 10, 2016 to September 29, 2017. The research indicated the jobs of only 15.7 percent of the victims, but it showed that most of them were poor.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the study only collated media reports, which can be deemed as secondary material, without verifying if the victims were indeed killed because of drugs.
"Hindi ko po talaga ikukuwestyon na talagang mahirap ang mga napapatay. Pero ang question dito, talaga ba silang napatay dahil sa war on drugs?" he told radio DZMM.
(I won't question the finding that most of those killed were poor. But the question here is whether they really died because of the war on drugs.)
"Iyun ang hindi naman tiningnan ng study na ito... Pero ang mas maganda sanang ginawa ng mga dalubhasa ay inisa-isa," he added.
(That is what the study failed to look into. The experts could have examined the cases one by one.)
The government, he said, is still verifying the cause of recent homicide cases.
The police has recorded 23,327 homicide cases under investigation (HCUIs) from July 1, 2016, the start of the Duterte administration, until June 4 this year.
Only 2,000 of these killings are drug related, police said last week.
The administration has also built drug rehabilitation facilities, which was among the study's recommendations, said Roque.
The study was led by the Ateneo School of Government, De La Salle Philippines, UP Diliman, and the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.
Veteran journalist Sheila Coronel and Benjamin Pimentel, UP Mass Communication Professor Clarissa David, author Lorna Kalaw-Tirol comprised the study's editorial committee.