By Daniel Llanto
FilAm Star Correspondent
The bloody war against drugs gave Duterte the kind of popularity never enjoyed by any previous Philippine president. But now, one year and five months into his presidency, people are withdrawing their support and beginning to see the campaign as a license for extra-judicial killings (EJK).
In the June 23-26 Social Weather Survey (SWS), it was shown that 63 percent of Pinoys believe there are drug suspects who already surrendered but were still killed. The results of the latest survey indicate that three out of five Filipinos agree that only poor drug pushers are killed, while three out of four say President Duterte should divulge his list of drug personalities and charge them in court in the name of due process.
In addition, opinions are split about the truthfulness of police claims of suspects resisting arrest, or “nanlaban.”
The SWS survey results were released as the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “produce” a police officer who disappeared after revealing that policemen were indeed behind the EJK of many drug suspects.
At the continuation of the Committee’s investigation into the spate of killings of teenage drug suspects, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Senior Police Officer 1 Vincent Tacorda recanted his statements in an affidavit regarding the corruption and involvement in illegal activities of several ranking police officials in Catandanues
The SWS survey on the growing unpopularity of anti-drug killings was fielded on June 23-26, way before the series of high-profile and controversial deaths, in mid-August and afterward, suffered by the likes of teens Kian Loyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo ‘Kulot’ de Guzman.
The survey found that 60 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “Hindi pinapatay ang mga mayayaman na drug pusher; ang mga pinapatay ay ang mahihirap lamang.” To this survey question, only 23 percent disagreed and 17 percent were undecided.
The highest proportion of those who agreed that only poor drug pushers were killed came from Metro Manila, with 75 percent agreeing. This is followed by Mindanao, the supposed Duterte bailiwick with 59 percent agreeing.
Three out of four respondents said Duterte should expose his list of drug personalities and charge them in court. Seventy-four percent agreed with the statement: “Dapat isiwalat ni Pangulong Duterte ang kanyang listahan ng mga taong sangkot sa droga o ‘drug personalities’ sa publiko at sampahan ng kaso sa korte ang mga nakalista,” while only 12 percent disagreed.
Agreement that Duterte should make his list of drug personalities public and charge those in the list in court was highest in Metro Manila at 82 percent, followed by Luzon at 75 percent, Mindanao at 71 percent, and the Visayas at 69 percent.
On the standard police claim of “nanlaban” such as drug suspects resisting arrest and pulling guns, opinions were split. On the excuse that the suspects killed in the anti-illegal drugs campaign really resisted arrest, only 25 percent said the police are telling the truth whereas a larger 28 percent believed the police are lying through their teeth. The plurality of 48 percent was unsure whether the police are telling the truth or not.
SWS said the area estimates were weighted by Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2017 to obtain the national estimates. The survey items on the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs are non-commissioned.
They were included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service. SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data-processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations.
At the Senate, Lacson said he was incensed by reports that Tacorda was ordered by his superiors to personally deliver an “accomplishment of 5-10 deaths of drug personalities.”
The reports noted that Tacorda would be relieved from his post if there is no “death of drug personalities within their area.”