WATCH | While 80% of Pinoys back war on drugs, 73% believe EJKs happening in Duterte pet campaign – Pulse Asia poll

October 16, 2017 - 12:11 PM
The body of a victim of an alleged extra-judicial killing is seen dumped on a street. Several lawmakers have formed a group to push, among others, a human rights defenders bill amid what they called the continuing vilification and harassment of HR advocates, especially those denouncing EJKs. REUTERS FILE

MANILA, Philippines – While eight out of 10 Filipino back the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs,” majority also believe that extrajudicial killings are happening in the conduct of the campaign, results of the recent Pulse Asia survey showed.

The September 2017 Ulat ng Bayan national survey revealed that 88 percent of the Filipinos support the campaign against illegal drugs; nine percent are unable to say if they support it or not; only two percent are not supportive of the campaign.

In the same survey, 73 percent of the respondents said they believe the allegations that extra-judicial killings are taking place in the course of the implementation of the war on drugs. Around 20 percent of Filipinos do not believe EJKs are happening, while seven percent of the respondents refused to answer.

The survey question was: Naniniwala po ba kayo o hindi naniniwala na may nangyayaring extrajudicial killings o EJK sa pagsasakatuparan ng kampanya laban sa iligal na droga?

The survey also gave an introductory context to the question: Ang extrajudicial killings o EJK ay ang pagpatay na ginagawa ng mga awtoridad tulad ng mga pulis o sundalo nang hindi sinusunod ang batas. May mga alegasyon na sa pagsasakatuparan ng kampanya alaban sa iligal na droga, mag mga naganap na EJK. Bilang tugon, sinasabi ng administrasyon na walang namatay dahil sa EJK, at kung mayroon mang mga namatay, ito ay dahil sa mga di kilalang salarin na tinutugis ng mga awtoridad.

The survey was conducted from September 24-30, 2017 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 representative adults, 18 years old and above. It has a +/-3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

According to Pulse Asia, it undertook the Ulat ng Bayan survey on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.


Support for the war on drugs was highest in Mindanao at 94 percent. In the National Capital Region, it was 84 percent; 88 percent in the Balance of Luzon; and, 85 percent in the Visayas.

From June to September 2017, Pulse Asia noted a decline in the percentage of Filipinos who do not believe EJKs are occurring in the implementation of the administration’s war on drugs.

“Similar movements are registered in Mindanao (-15 percentage points) and in Class D (-10 percentage points). And while the increase in the percentage of Filipinos who believe the allegation that EJKs are taking place in the implementation of the “war on drugs” falls short of being considered significant (+6 percentage points), a notable increase is recorded in Mindanao (+17 percentage points),” it said.

Pulse Asia also made public its survey showing that nearly all Filipinos know about the case of Kian delos Santos (94 percent), with most of them (76 percent) expressing concern that they or someone they know may meet the same fate because of the “war on drugs.”

Church action in rehab

Meanwhile, a small majority of Filipinos (58 percent) said they would like the leaders of the Catholic Church to assist with the rehabilitation of drug addicts as part of the administration’s war on drugs.

This is the preferred action of most Filipinos across areas and classes (53 percent to 64 percent and 54 percent to 60 percent, respectively). Around the same percentages of Filipinos say the leaders of the Catholic Church should either monitor the conduct of the anti-illegal drugs campaign (46 percent) or release statements expressing their concern about the deaths that have taken place as a result of the campaign (40 percent). Both options have the support of most Visayans (51 percent and 52 percent, respectively).

The third most often mentioned action among Filipinos is for the Catholic Church leadership to assist in litigating alleged abusive law enforcers (28 percent). Only about one (1) in 10 Filipinos would like for the latter to take a hands-off policy when it comes to the “war on drugs” (13 percent) or to embark on an international campaign to exert pressure on the Duterte administration to suspend “Oplan Tokhang” (11 percent).

Among the key developments that dominated the headlines in the days leading up to the survey period as well as during the actual survey were:

*The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation into the shipment of illegal drugs worth P 6.4 billion that slipped through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last May 2017 and the appearance of Davao City Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manases Carpio before the committee on 07 September 2017 during which they denied any links to the reported drug smuggling and corruption occurring in the BOC;

*The refusal of former BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to attend several hearings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and his decision to turn himself in to the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms after Senator Richard Gordon cited him for contempt for being absent in previous hearings;

*The filing of an ethics complaint against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV by Senator Gordon arising from the former’s unparliamentary acts and language as well as disorderly behavior during the 31 August 2017 on the said drug shipment;

*The filing of double murder charges against the Caloocan City policemen and taxi driver implicated in the killing of Karl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman and the sacking of virtually the entire Caloocan City police force in the aftermath of the killing of these teenagers and a break-in and robbery carried out by its members;

*The statement made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa denying any state policy to kill drug suspects in the conduct of the administration’s “war on drugs”;

*The trip to Singapore by Senator Trillanes to dispute allegations made by President Duterte that he owns several accounts in foreign banks and the lawmaker’s challenge to the President for the latter to sign bank waivers to allow authorities to scrutinize his bank accounts to prove that he has no ill-gotten wealth;

*The threat made by President Duterte to create an independent commission to investigate corruption within the Office of the Ombudsman after the latter launched a fact-finding investigation into the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the President and his family;

*The commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on 21 September 2017, with various groups staging protest actions nationwide, as well as the observance of the 100th birthday of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, with his supporters holding a celebration in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB); and,

* The death of the so-called “most wanted drug lord” in Iloilo on 02 September 2017 during a shootout which ensued while the police was in the process of serving him a warrant of arrest and the cancellation of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido’s transfer to Iloilo City from Ozamiz City;

*The call made by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the Catholic faithful to light candles and offer prayers for 40 days for the victims of the administration’s “war on drugs.”