Filipinos afraid of EJK? SWS did survey wrong, says PNP

Rambo Talabong
'There is something amiss with how the questions are framed,' PNP chief Oscar Albayalde says

WRONG QUESTIONS? PNP chief Oscar Albayalde says SWS should have rephrased their questions and provided a briefer on EJK. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) believes that the survey on the perception of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the country was incorrectly done by polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS).

“I don’t want to dispute the statistics derived from SWS except there is something amiss with how the questions are framed in relation to the perception [of] the alleged police involvement in illegal drugs and alleged EJK,” PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde read from a prepared statement in a Camp Crame briefing on Monday, March 4.

In a survey conducted from December 16 to 19, 2018, the SWS found that 78%, or almost 4 out of 5 Filipinos, are worried that they, or someone they know, will be a victim of EJK amid the administration’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs.

According to the police chief, the question of the SWS was leading, and bound to evoke fear from respondents because of its phrasing, “How worried are you that you or anyone you know will be a victim of ‘extrajudicial killing’ or EJK?”

Mali naman kaagad na ‘Gaano kayo nangangamba.’ Everyone will be scared of course, sino ba ang ‘di takot mamatay, sino ba ang ‘di takot mabiktima ng krimen?” Albayalde said. (It is wrong that you start with “How worried are you.” Everyone will be scared, of course. Who is not afraid of dying? Who is not afraid of being victimized by crime?)

Albayalde added that the SWS should have “provided a briefing to define EJK.”

How is EJK defined? The PNP definition of EJK follows Administrative Order 35 of the Aquino administration.

The order defines EJKs as committed by “state and non-state forces” to silence, “through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the civil society, cause-oriented groups, political movements, people’s and non-governmental organizations, and by ordinary citizens.”

However, there is a new definition of EJK that bolsters the high number of claims of human rights advocates. Newly-signed Republic Act No 11188 or the Act for Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict defines EJK as follows:

“Extrajudicial killings refer to all acts and omissions of State actors that constitute violation of the general recognition of the right to life embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UNCRC and similar other human rights treaties to which the Philippines is a state party.” – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.