Malacañang on Friday branded as "false news" the report that there are now close to 9,000 extrajudicial killings related to the Duterte administration's war on drugs as an international news agency said.
"On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false news," presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
Citing government data, Abella said the period there were 6,011 deaths under investigation from July 1, 2016 to March 24, 2017.
Abella said only 1,398 cases were found to be drug-related.
This is "contrary to news reports that there are now close to 9,000 killed connected with the campaign against illegal drugs," the spokesperson said.
"We expect fairness and not a rush to judgment. Right now the people appreciate the changes and the way these are carried out," Abella said.
"We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness," he added.
The statement was made after the United States expressed concern over the increasing alleged drug-related EJKs.
"We share the concern of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying that 'there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law,'" Abella said.
Abella said that local authorities follow operational protocols and the proper enforcement of laws.
"Those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of such violations," Abella said.
"This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges," he added. —NB, GMA News