Filipinos who believe ‘nanlaban’ claim of cops have higher trust in Duterte – SWS

Bea Cupin
Filipinos who believe ‘nanlaban’ claim of cops have higher trust in Duterte – SWS
According to the survey, net satisfaction ratings of Duterte were higher among those who believed cops' claim that drug suspects were killed because they fought back

MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos continue to disbelieve or doubt police’s claims that drug suspects who died in police operations “fought back (nanlaban),” according to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

In the survey, held from September 23 to 27 this year, 37% of respondents said police were not telling the truth (19% definitely not telling the truth and 19% probably not telling the truth, correctly rounded, according to the survey firm).

Close to half, or 45% of respondents said they were undecided, while 17% believed the police were telling the truth (13% said the police were probably telling the truth, with 5% definitely telling the truth, correctly rounded). (READ: Why are Filipinos supporting Duterte’s drug war?)

SWS asked 1,500 respondents:

Sa kampanya ng gobyerno laban sa illegal na droga, ang kapulisan po ba ay (Talagang nagsasabi ng totoo; Malamang nagsasabi ng totoo; Hindi tiyak kung nagsasabi ng totoo o hindi; Malamang hindi nagsasabi ng totoo; Talagang hindi nagsasabi ng totoo) na ang napapatay nilang suspect ay talagang nanlaban sa kanila?

[In the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, the police are (Definitely telling the truth; Probably telling the truth; Undecided if telling the truth or not; Probably not telling the truth; Definitely not telling the truth) that the suspects they killed really resisted them?]

“This brings the net opinion about the truthfulness of the police to a significant -20 [percentage points],” said the survey firm.

Net opinion is calculated by subtracting the percentage of those who said police were probably or definitely not telling the truth from the percentage of those who said police were definitely or probably telling the truth.

In a June 2017 survey that also gauged Filipinos’ belief in police’s claims, 25% believed in police, 45% were undecided, while 28% did not believe the police.

But it’s in the SWS’s breakdown of the results where an interesting pattern emerges.

It turns out, Duterte’s net satisfaction ratings were higher among those who said they believed in the police’s claims. The ratings were lower for those who said they did not believe the police’s claims.

Among the 5% of respondents who said police were “definitely telling the truth”, Duterte’s net satisfaction was “excellent” at +73. Net satisfaction is calculated by subtracting the percentage of “dissatisfied” from those who said they were “satisfied” by Duterte’s performance.

Duterte, meanwhile, scored a “very good” or +60 net satisfaction rating for those who believed police were “probably telling the truth.” For the 45% who were undecided, Duterte scored a “very good” +45 net satisfaction rating.

His net satisfaction ratings for those who said police were “probably not telling the truth” was “very good” at +60, and “moderate” or +15 for those who said police were “definitely not telling the truth”.

SWS noted the same pattern – this time in terms of net satisfaction with the national administration – in relation to respondents’ belief in police’s claims.

According to the SWS, its survey items on the war on drugs were not commissioned and “were included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.”

The survey interviewed 600 respondents from Balance Luzon and 300 respondents each from Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

SWS reported a drop in Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings based on the survey, which was conducted days after massive protests to mark the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and raise alarm over the thousands of deaths linked to Duterte’s drug war.

A month prior, teenage boys were killed at the hands of police, supposedly because they “fought back (nanlaban).” CCTV footage and tests of one of the operations, however, told a different story. Initial probes pointed to wrongdoing by police in the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos of Caloocan City.

Police have since been ordered out of the drug war. Only the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, now headed by a newly-retired police general, are sanctioned to conduct anti-illegal drug operations. –

Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.