Lawmakers back Duterte's war on drugs despite killings

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2016 11:33 PM

MANILA - Lawmakers believe that the Duterte administration's war on drugs should continue despite concerns aired by the public over the increasing number of drug-related killings.

1PACMAN Representative and Party-list coalition member Rep. Michael Odylon Romero, in a statement, said the war against drugs is "never easy."

"Duterte's war on drugs is never easy. Although we don't condone extrajudicial killings if found with basis, kailangan tignan din natin the 3 to 4 million people being affected by these drug plague. Hindi pa kasama diyan the other millions of Filipinos their lives these drug dependents destroy," he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, on the other hand, said the results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey should serve as a wake-up call.

"This is what we've been saying all along for the PNP (Philippine National Police) to really address the issue of summary execution because eventually this will undermine the war on drugs. Make no mistake we have to support the eradication of this menace kasi napaka-widespread talaga ng problema ng droga," he said.

Zarate believes the PNP should also address the issue of summary executions and vigilante killings.

"But if the war on drugs will be undermined because some rogue members of the PNP are themselves involved in summary executions o may vigilante groups na gumagawa ng summary executions na pinapabayaan ng PNP, talagang eventually mawawalan ng credibility ang war on drugs," he added.

A new SWS survey showed showed nearly 8 out of every 10 Filipinos fear they might fall victim to the rampant killings amid government's brutal war on drugs. 

For political analyst Richard Heydarian, the government should also take into consideration the concerns aired by the public over the methods used in the war on drugs.

"Ang pwede naman gawin ng Duterte administration diyan is pwede nila i-regain 'yung trust ng tao, pwede sila mag-launch ng investigation, dapat ipakita nila sa mga tao they care about the rule of law and hindi in-ignore yung concerns ng tao sa methods ng war on drugs," he said.

(The administration can regain the people's trust by launching an investigation [on alleged extrajudicial killings]. They should show the people that they care about the rule of law. They cannot just ignore the people's concerns on the methods used in the war on drugs.)

Meanwhile, an SWS official said concerns aired by people over extrajudicial killings cannot be taken in relation to the war on drugs.

Leo Laroza, director for Survey Data Library of SWS, explained that extrajudicial killings and drug-related killings were treated as separate matters in the polls.

"Hindi direct na inuugnay. Ang pagkakadisenyo sa katanungan ay stand-alone na pagtatanong sa opinyon ng tao tungkol sa extrajudicial killings. Ang war on drugs, isa itong separate na tanong, hiwalay sa extrajudicial killings," Laroza added.

(The two issues cannot be directly connected since the question on respondents' opinion on extrajudicial killings is stand-alone. The question on war on drugs is a separate question.)

The survey question on extrajudicial killings was "Gaano po kayo nangangamba na kayo or sino mang kilala niyo ay maging biktima ng extra judicial killing o EJK? kayo po ba ay talagang nangangamba, medyo nangangambam medyo hindi nangangamba o talagang hindi nangangamba?"

Forty-five percent of respondents said they were very worried, 33 percent said they were somewhat worried, 12 percent were not worried at all and 10 percent said they are not too worried.

The same poll asked the question "Sa pagtupad ng kapulisan ng kanilang tungkulin sa laban sa illegal na droga gaano ka importante na mahuli nila nang buhay ang mga taong pinaghihinalaang kasabwat sa illegal na droga? ito po ba ay talagang importante, medyo importante, medyo hindi importante, o talagang hindi importante?"

Seventy percent of respondents said it is very important that suspects are arrested alive, 23 percent said it is somewhat important, four percent said it is somewhat not important, and one percent said it is not at all important.

Laroza also said the poll clearly shows that the war on drugs remains popular. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News