MANILA – Despite President Rodrigo Duterte's hard-line stance towards illegal drug suspects, the tough-talking leader is not happy about the rising number of people being killed in his war on drugs, a Palace spokesperson said.
Duterte has waged a bloody war on drugs, resulting in hundreds of suspected drug users and peddlers, mostly in impoverished areas, being killed.
MAP, CHARTS: The Death Toll of the War on Drugs
While human rights groups have called on Duterte to end the killings, the president has shrugged of such calls, saying bloodshed may be necessary in his crusade against illegal drugs.
But Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte does not rejoice over the fact that hundreds of drug suspects have been killed less than 2 months into the new administration.
''I hardly think happiness is the right word to use. I think he’s very concerned, and in fact he’s bothered and troubled,'' Abella said.
Abella said what Duterte is happy about is ''the fact that the people are now aware of the depth and the breadth of the clear and present danger of the drug menace."
''But no, he is not happy. He is deeply and profoundly concerned,'' Abella added.
Data gathered by ABS-CBN's Investigative and Research Group show that there have been 915 drug-related fatalities from May 10 to August 9.
Of the total number, 557 people were killed in police operations. About 276 were killed by unknown assailants, while 82 were suspected victims of summary executions.