SWS: Most Filipinos believe cops involved in illegal drugs, EJKs

PNP (Philstar Photo)

The latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey revealed that most Filipinos believed that some police officers are involved in the illegal drug trade, extrajudicial killings (EJKs), and are often planting evidence against drug suspects.

Illegal drug trade

The survey which was released on Wednesday, February 27, asked: “Here are some accusations against policemen. In your opinion, are these accusations Definitely true, Probably true, Undecided if true or not, Probably not true, Definitely not true, or Don’t know enough to give an opinion regarding this?”

The response on the “accusation that some policemen are involved in the illegal drug trade” reported that 68 percent of Filipinos believe the allegations that police officers are involved in the illegal drug trade.

Of the said percentage, 29 percent said “definitely true” while 39 percent said, “probably true.” In the same category, five percent were convinced that it was “definitely or probably not true” while 26 percent said they were undecided.


Another accusation in question is whether the respondent believed those police officers are involved in the extrajudicial killing of suspects.  Sixty-six percent believed this to be true — with 28 percent of them picked “definitely true” and 38 percent chose “probably true.”

Similarly, only five percent of the respondents believed the accusation to be “definitely or probably not true,” while 28 percent said they were undecided.

Planting of evidence

Lastly, 57 percent believed that police officers often plant evidence against arrested suspects — with 22 percent tagging the accusation as “definitely true” and 35 percent tagging it as “probably true.” Only nine percent believed otherwise, while 33 percent said they were undecided.

The results followed days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to implement a “harsher drug war” during his speech in Malacañang last week.

“And I am declaring war. I am not declaring a punitive police action. It cannot help and it would not help. So early on I decided but I think I’d be more — well I said harsher in the days to come,” the president said as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

However, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Police Colonel Bernard Banac, responded to the survey results as he insisted that all police units respect human rights.

“We assure the public the PNP subscribes to the rule of law. All anti-drug operations are done with utmost respect for human rights and human life,” Banac said as reported by ABS-CBN News.

The SWS said that the net opinion about the truthfulness of the police’s “nanlaban” claims was lowest in Metro Manila at -11, followed by Balance Luzon at -3, the Visayas at +3, and Mindanao at +11.

The survey was conducted from December 16 to 19, 2018. They collected data through face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults nationwide with 360 respondents each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

It has a sampling error margin of ±2.6 percent for national percentages and ±5 percent each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The government’s anti-narcotics campaign reported a total of 5,000 drug suspects killed since 2016, but human rights groups said that the numbers are severely understated. The war on drugs campaign was heavily criticized for alleged state-sponsored killings, which the government has denied. 

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