The Palace vowed Thursday that it would not tolerate any form of abuse from men in uniform in the wake of an opinion poll showing that most Filipinos believe that some police carry out extrajudicial killings, frame drug suspects and engage in the illegal drug trade.
Released on Wednesday, the new Social Weather Stations survey showed that 68 percent of respondents believed that it was “definitely or probably true” that policemen are involved in the illegal drug trade. Twenty-six percent said they were undecided, while 5 percent said the allegation is definitely or probably not true.
Meanwhile, some 66 percent of the respondents believed as definitely or probably true the claim that cops are involved in the extrajudicial killing of drug suspects. Some 28 percent said they were not sure.
Fifty-five percent of the respondents also said the allegation that policemen often plant evidence against suspects they arrest is probably and definitely true. Thirty-three percent were undecided, while 9 percent said this was untrue.
Respondents were split on police claims that drug suspects they killed fought back, with 28 percent believing this to be untrue, and 28 percent saying it was true. A high 44 percent of those polled said they were undecided.
Reacting to the survey, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the administration would not tolerate any kind of abuse from those whose duty was to serve and protect.
Panelo said the executive department is aware of the “rotten eggs” among the ranks of the Philippine National Police, who tend to destroy the institution’s integrity.
He said the President has already said that there would be “hell to pay” for police who became worse than criminals.
“While there is no denying that there are erring policemen within their ranks, the PNP has done internal cleansing efforts, such as the activation of the Counter-Intelligence Task Force tasked to go after policemen involved in unlawful activities,” he said.
He cited the instance in which the police killers of Kian delos Santos were convicted and the entire Caloocan police force was relieved.
In the spirit of fairness, Panelo said, SWS should conduct another survey focusing on the “good deeds” of the police.
Citing a report from the PNP, the Palace official said 165 police officers were killed and 575 were wounded in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“These figures dispel allegations of critics and detractors on legitimate drug operations and show that drug pushers and addicts actually resort to violence when confronted with a threat of apprehension,” he said.
“Indeed, illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine or shabu, alter emotions and cause anger and fear on the part of the user so we are not dumbfounded when violent encounters ensue during police operations,” he added.
The SWS survey, conducted from Dec. 16 to 19, 2018, used face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults nationwide. It had sampling error margins of ±2.6 percent for national percentages, and ±5 percent each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Reacting to the same SWS survey, the PNP said it valued life and human rights in its anti-drug operations, and that it continued to weed out those who violated this policy.
Senior Supt. Bernard Banac told GMA News that as much as possible, the police tried to reduce any casualties in their war on illegal drugs.
As part of its internal cleansing, he said, all police who have been found to have broken the law will be fired.