A majority of Filipinos believe extrajudicial killings (EJKs) are taking place in the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs, the latest Pulse Asia survey released on Monday said.
Based on the third quarter survey conducted from September 24 to 30, 73 percent of Filipinos said they believe that EJKs are happening in the implementation of the war on drugs. The result is six percentage points higher compared to the June poll.
Sixty-seven percent of Filipinos in Mindanao said they suspect EJKs are occurring in the crackdown, up by 17 points — the most across all geographic locations — followed by the 11-point uptick in the National Capital Region at 78 percent.
Visayas Region had the least increase in the survey — 75 percent in the September poll compared to 72 percent in the previous survey.
Majority of social classes also believe in the presence of EJKs (Class D - 72 percent, Class E - 70 percent). Only Classes ABC declined in the survey by one point at 77 percent.
Meanwhile, 20 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they are confident on the absence of EJKs in the country, nine points below the 29 percent last quarter.
The survey results also saw declines across all geographic locations with the biggest dip coming from the 15-point decline in Mindanao at 29 percent, followed by the 11-point decrease in NCR at 17 percent.
The same survey found that 88 percent of Filipinos support the war on drugs, while only 2 percent oppose the campaign. Nine percent said they may or may not support it.
Pulse Asia used face-to-face interviews in the poll with a sampling error margin of +/- 3 percentage points.
Among the drug-related headlines leading up to the survey and during the actual poll were the filing of murder charges against policemen allegedly involved in the killings of Karl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman.
The statements of Duterte and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa denying that killing drug suspects were included in its national policy were also issued at the time the survey was taken.
The Pulse Asia poll also coincided with the death of alleged narco-politician and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who allegedly had a shootout with policemen serving an arrest warrant against him, and the canceled re-assignment of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City.
Opposition lawmakers, the Catholic Church, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have long expressed their concern over the alleged EJKs during police anti-illegal drug operations.
The Philippine National Police recently drew flak from its report that there has been no case of EJK under the Duterte administration so far.
National Capital Region Police Office head Director Oscar Albayalde echoed the statement, saying the deaths are non-state-sponsored murders, "bungled" police operations, and people taking advantage of the campaign.
The CHR refuted the PNP's claim, saying there have been thousands killed amid the war on drugs. It, nonetheless, said it is no longer surprised on the report of the police.
Worried after Kian slay
Meanwhile, 76 percent (43 percent very worried, 34 percent somewhat worried) of respondents said they are worried they or the people they know may suffer the same fate as Kian Lloyd delos Santos, the 17-year-old boy from Caloocan City who got killed during a police operation.
Thirteen percent said they may or may not be worried, while 11 percent said they are not worried (6 percent somewhat not worried, 5 percent not worried at all).
Police have insisted that Delos Santos fired at operatives conducting the drug operation last month, forcing the officers to fire back at him. Witnesses, however, claimed otherwise.
CCTV footage also showed Delos Santos being carried by Caloocan policemen.
The three policemen involved in the killing of Kian have been relieved from their posts and are facing charges. — RSJ, GMA News