MANILA - Church groups gathered Friday night at the Christ the King Church in Quezon City to call for an end to alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) under the administration's fierce war on drugs.
Leaders of the candle vigil, among them activist and "running priest" Fr. Robert Reyes, said the gift of life should be respected, protected, and preserved.
Attendees prayed that those involved in illegal drugs would change their ways, and for the police to "uphold the law with integrity."
Holding banners and lit candles, participants called on authorities to "stop the killings, start the healing."
According to data from the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, a total of 4,226 drug-fatalities were reported from May 10, 2016 to Oct. 3, 2017, including those killed in police operations (2,441), those killed by unidentified assailants (1,537), and bodies found away from the crime scene (248).
The data were compiled from Philippine National Police Regional Office websites, and national and local news reports.
On Friday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed that there has been no recorded extrajudicial killing under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.
This after PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos on Friday retracted his earlier statement that there was only one case recorded from July last year, when Duterte assumed office, until Sept. 30 this year.
Latest police estimates placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate police operations at 3,800. Human rights groups meanwhile placed the figure at 13,000, which the administration has described as overblown. -- with reports from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News