NO IMPUNITY UNDER DUTERTE ADMIN, PALACE ASSERTS
MANILA — Impunity has no place in the Duterte administration, Malacañang asserted on Monday following a survey which showed that more Filipinos fear being victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted Dec. 16 to 19, 2018 showed that 78 percent of Filipinos are worried that they, or anyone they know, will be a victim of EJKs. This figure is higher by five points from the 73 percent acquired in June 2017.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo acknowledged these fears but emphasized that the numbers of drug-related killings have been “inflated” by critics of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“We understand this concern of our people given the grossly inflated number of drug-related killings falsely peddled and grotesquely sensationalized by the incorrigible critics of the government’s campaign against prohibited drugs,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo also denied that the EJKs are state-sanctioned or state-sponsored and assured anew that abuses made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents will be dealt with.
“For the umpteenth time, we do not tolerate EJKs nor knowingly allow them to happen. EJKs and vigilante killings are not state-sanctioned nor state-sponsored,” Panelo said.
“The President’s position on any abuse committed by police officers and PDEA agents during their operations remains unchanged and immovable. Any transgression by them will reap the severest punishment imposed by law,” he added.
Panelo also reiterated the government continues to investigate all complaints and allegations of extrajudicial deaths and bring perpetrators to justice.
He said the war on drugs will be relentless and more vigorous even until the last day of the Duterte presidency.
Last month, Duterte vowed that the aggressive crackdown against illegal drugs will be “harsher in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, the Palace official welcomed the survey results which showed that 71 percent of Filipinos believe that the Duterte administration is serious in solving the EJK problem, up by 8 percent from the previous 63 percent in June 2017.
He said this showed that the citizenry still has confidence in the Administration’s capability in finding a solution to the EJKs despite opposition’s “vilification campaign.”
Data from the PNP showed that from July 1, 2016 to April 30, 2018, more than 4,000 have been killed in drug-related operations.
However, New York-based Human Rights Watch has estimated that over 12,000 suspected drug personalities were killed since the crackdown on illegal drugs was launched on July 1, 2016. (PNA)
Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler