Fans normally see celebrities Piolo Pascual and JM de Guzman in one place only during showbiz awards nights and perhaps high-profile parties.
But on Tuesday, May 29, the two stood in the same room – inside the central police headquarters, Camp Crame.
The two were guests at the #RealNumbersPH conference. Real Numbers is campaign running for two years now, launched by the Philippine National Police to give the public what it claims to be the real count of casualties in relation to the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.
According to the latest government record, over 4,000 drug suspects have been killed in police operations after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in July 2016. At the same time, the government has confiscated illegal drugs valued at least P13.46 billion.
Human rights groups, however, have counted about 20,000 drug-related deaths under Duterte, building on the initial count that the PNP itself had released to the media in the earlier months. The PNP later changed its classifications of deaths so that the tally now shows only about 4,000 died in police operations while 16,000-plus deaths are “under investigation.”
Tuesday’s conference was supposed to be a briefing between police officials and PNP beat reporters regarding consolidated numbers on the government’s anti-drug campaign. The effort began in late 2016, after the government dismissed independent tallies made by news organizations and human rights groups.
At around 2:45 pm, however, Pascual and De Guzman arrived at the police camp’s packed multipurpose center. They were surrounded by aides and cops who blocked guests who attempted to take selfies with the celebrities.
According to the forum’s program, De Guzman was set to give a testimony, while Pascual was lined up for a performance.
It is unclear how much the government spent for the appearance of the two celebrities. In some instances, celebrities appear for free in government events if they believe in the administration’s thrusts.
The event was hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and Department of the Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Echiverri. – Rappler.com