Filipinos ‘satisfied’ with Duterte drug war but want suspects to live – SWS

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-illegal drugs campaign is popular among most Filipinos, a new Social Weather Stations survey shows.

But a majority of Filipinos think drug suspects should be given the chance to live, the results also showed.

The survey, first published on BusinessWorld on Friday, October 7, showed that Duterte's drug war garnered an "excellent" net satisfaction rating with a score of +76.

The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide from September 24 to 27, 2016. Its results were released on Duterte's 100th day as President.

Respondents were asked the question: Maaari po bang pakisabi ninyo kung gaano kayo nasisiyahan o hindi nasisiyahan sa kasalukuyang kampanya ng gobyerno laban sa illegal na droga. Kayo ba ay… (SHOWCARD)? [LUBOS NA NASISIYAHAN, MEDYO NASISIYAHAN, HINDI TIYAK KUNG NASISIYAHAN O HINDI, MEDYO HINDI NASISIYAHAN, o LUBOS NA HINDI NASISIYAHAN]

(Please tell me how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with the performance of government in its campaign against illegal drugs.  Are you… (SHOWCARD)? [Very satisfied, Somewhat satisfied, Undecided if satisfied or not, Somewhat dissatisfied, Very dissatisfied])

Of the respondents, 54% said they were "very satisfied" and 30% said they were "somewhat satisfied."

Those who said they were "very dissatisfied" or "somewhat dissatisfied" were each 4% of the total. Only 8% said they were undecided.

The "excellent" rating was obtained by subtracting the percentage of dissatisfied respondents from those satisfied.

'Drug suspects should live'

Despite the strong support for the administration's anti-illegal drugs campaign, 71%, or a majority of respondents, said they find it "very important" that drug suspects be arrested alive by police personnel.

Only 2% said this was "not at all important."

Respondents were asked: Sa pagtupad ng kapulisan ng kanilang tungkulin sa kampanya laban sa illegal na droga, sa inyong palagay, gaano ka-importante na mahuli nila nang buhay ang mga taong pinaghihinalaang di-umano’y kasabwat sa bentahan ng illegal na droga? Ito po ba ay… (SHOWCARD)? [TALAGANG IMPORTANTE, MEDYO IMPORTANTE, MEDYO HINDI IMPORTANTE, TALAGANG HINDI IMPORTANTE]

(In the police’s fulfillment of their duty in the campaign against illegal drugs, in your opinion, how important is it that they arrest suspects allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade alive? Is it… (SHOWCARD)? [Very important, Somewhat important, Somewhat not important, Not at all important])

This figure comes after local and international criticism for extrajudicial killings that have been linked to the drug war. Police data say that over half of the roughly 3,600 deaths linked to the drug war are extrajudicial killings. The rest are deaths of suspects in legitimate police operations. Police claim that these deaths happened because the suspects "fought back."

While around 1,400 drug personalities were killed in police operations (as of October 6), around 23,000 drug personalities were arrested alive. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Philippines' drug war)

Duterte has vehemently denied his administration's involvement in these unlawful killings. He claims these were the work of criminal syndicates "purging" their ranks out of fear that law enforcers will obtain more information about their operations.

The President has even invited concerned foreign bodies like the United Nations to investigate the killings.

'No class discrimination'

The SWS survey also found that 83%, or a majority of respondents, don't think there is class discrimination in the administration's anti-drugs campaign.

Previously, the police were criticized for targeting only poor suspects and not cracking down on wealther suspects.

But only 13% believed the drug war was focused on the poor while only 4% believed it was focused on the rich.

Respondents were asked this question: Sa inyo pong palagay, ang kampanya po ba ng gobyerno laban sa illegal na droga ay naka-sentro lamang sa mga MAHIHIRAP, MAYAYAMAN, o WALANG PINIPILING ANTAS hanggat sila ay may sala? (ONE ANSWER ONLY) [MAHIHIRAP, MAYAYAMAN, WALANG PINIPILING ANTAS]

(Do you think that the government’s campaign against illegal drugs is only centered on the POOR, the RICH, or it does not choose a class as long as they are guilty? (ONE ANSWER ONLY) [Poor, Rich, Does not choose a class])

Duterte's promise to suppress crime and drugs in 3 to 6 months has been a centerpiece program of his administration since day 1 of his presidency.

But if he were to grade his drug war, he would give it a score of 5 out of 10, as he admitted in mid-September.

He has asked for a 6-month extension to his self-imposed deadline.

Duterte's drug war has consisted of aggressive police raids of drug dens and shabu laboratories, knock-and-plead operations in private households, Duterte's public announcement of government officials with alleged drug links, and calls for the surrender of drug addicts nationwide.

As of October 6, over 730,000 drug addicts and pushers have surrendered to authorities.

Malacañang welcomed the survey results. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement that it "validates [Duterte's] landslide victory in the May elections based on his campaign pledge to eliminate the drug menace."

He maintained that the Duterte government "does not condone summary execution or extrajudicial killing of drug suspects" and that the police are "investigating all cases of extrajudicial killings and will prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law." 

 – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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