Big majority of Filipinos believe ‘ninja cops’ operate in PNP

Rambo Talabong

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Big majority of Filipinos believe ‘ninja cops’ operate in PNP


A Social Weather Stations survey finds that 78% of Filipinos believe there are cops who sell illegal drugs confiscated during operations

MANILA, Philippines – A big majority of Filipinos, 78%, believe the Philippine National Police (PNP) has “ninja cops” or cops who sell drugs they seize in operations.

In survey results released on Tuesday, January 7, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said it asked 1,200 Filipinos across the country, “Do you believe or not believe the accusation that there are ‘ninja cops’ or police who allegedly sell illegal drugs that they confiscate during their operations?”

The survey was conducted from December 13 to 16 last year, around two months past the height of the “ninja cops” controversy, which led to the resignation of former PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.

The breakdown. The SWS found that:

  • 46% said they strongly believe
  • 32% said they somewhat believe
  • 15% said they are undecided
  • 4% said they somewhat do not believe
  • 3% said they strongly do not believe

This led to a net belief score of +70, obtained by subtracting the percentage who do not believe from the percentage of those who do.

How rampant are they? Among those who believe the existence of “ninja cops,” the SWS asked, “In your opinion, how many among members of the police force are ‘ninja cops’?”

  • 23% said “very many”
  • 44% said “somewhat many”
  • 23% said “a little”
  • 3% said “almost none”

The remaining 1% did not give an answer.

Albayalde the protector? The “ninja cops” issue drew public attention once more when Albayalde was grilled in the September 2019 Senate hearings. Former police generals accused him of coddling “ninja cops” when he was Pampanga police chief in 2013 up to before he resigned as PNP chief in 2019.

The SWS asked survey respondents whether they believed that Albayalde was a “protector,” and found that 50% believe and 13% do not believe, broken down as:

  • 20% said they strongly believe
  • 30% said they somewhat believe
  • 13% said they do not believe
  • 6% said they somewhat do not believe
  • 7% said they strongly do not believe

More than a third, 37%, said they were undecided.

Who believes the most? Many Filipinos across the regions believe in the infiltration of “ninja cops,” but Metro Manila stood out as the region with the highest net belief score, with 83% saying that they believe in ninja cops. The rest:

  • In Balance Luzon, 77% said they believe and 6% said they do not believe.
  • In the Visayas, 77% said they believe and 8% said they do not believe.
  • In Mindanao, 75% said they believe and 10% said they do not believe.


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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.