MANILA - Accused of mounting a piecemeal attack against policemen, private pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) defended Wednesday their survey findings on the government's war on drugs.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa claimed SWS is attacking his men "piece by piece" after it reported Monday that fewer Filipinos believe police claims that drug suspects killed in anti-narcotics operations had resisted arrest.
The findings were included in an October 11 media release, but the pollster published a separate press release on it on Monday, October 23.
Leo Laroza, director of the SWS survey data archives, explained that the second press release highlighted new findings on the difference of opinion in geographic areas and its relation to public satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Noong panahon na iyun (Oct. 11), hindi pa namin nahihimay nang mabuti ang data... Ngayon-ngayon pa lang namin nagagawa ang mga analysis na iyun at ngayon pa lang namin nailalabas," Laroza told DZMM.
He added that the survey was non-commissioned and was an independent undertaking of SWS.
The September 23 to 27 poll of 1,500 adults showed 37 percent believe the police are not telling the truth about "nanlaban" cases while 45 percent were undecided and 17 percent said police were telling the truth.
Subtracting the percentage of who did not believe cops from those who did yields a -20 net opinion on police truthfulness, SWS said.
The pollster noted that in June, the net opinion was only -3, where 28 percent doubted the police and 25 percent believed them.
The latest survey also showed that net opinion on police truthfulness was lowest in Metro Manila at -34, followed by Balance Luzon at -31, Visayas at -15 and Mindanao at +3.
Satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration was lowest among those who doubt the police, SWS said.
Police data shows 3,800 people have been killed in operations in which armed suspects allegedly resisted arrest. Activists dispute that, saying executions and cover-ups are commonplace, which police deny.
Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to take the lead in the war on drugs, putting police in the backseat as it faced allegations of abuse.
PDEA has said it was short in manpower and would still need to tap police reinforcements in their operations.