Pangilinan sees ‘disconnect’ in Filipinos’ approval of drug war in latest SWS poll

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — There is a “disconnect” in Filipinos’ sentiments on the administration’s controversial anti-narcotics drive as shown in the result of the latest Social Weather Survey poll, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.

"Our own polling, when we did our deep canvassing, ang number one na hindi magandang nangyayari sa Pilipinas ngayon araw-araw ang patayan," the Liberal Party head told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

[Translation: Our own polling found out that the number one bad thing that happens in the country is the killings everyday.]

“That is on the surface that they approved of the war on drugs, but underneath that surface, there is a disconnect,” he added.

In its second quarter survey, the SWS said 82 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the administration’s war on drugs. On the other hand, 12 percent were dissatisfied while 6 percent were undecided.

READ: SWS poll shows Filipinos are satisfied with the government's anti-drug campaign

While he agreed with the poll results, Pangilinan said the survey outcome should be viewed "in its entirety.”

“If you look into the other aspects of the war on drugs, more than 90 percent believe that the addicts should not be killed and over 80 percent are afraid they may become collateral damage,” Pangilinan said.

“They don’t like the killings… our citizens believe that they should not be killed, our citizens don’t believe the police, na nanlaban itong mga ito. In other words, there is that issue of human rights violation and outright murder, and also the concern that they might get caught in the crossfire,” the senator added.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the high approval rating is a “response to the critics” and proof that criticisms against the campaign are false.

“The survey shows 82 percent and it has been unchanged since two years ago I think. These are the people who know the circumstances on the ground,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador “Sal” Panelo said in a media briefing.

Kung talagang may problema tayo sa pang-aabuso lalabas sa survey ‘yun,” he also said.

[Translation: If there are really abuses, it will be reflected in the survey.]

Government data shows at least 6,600 people have been killed in anti-illegal drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July 2016.

A United Nations Human Rights Council resolution in July, initiated by Iceland, called for an investigation of the anti-illegal drugs campaign and the perceived summary killings in the country. The administration, however, had maintained the Philippines will not allow UN investigators in the country.

Malacañang had ordered the suspension of talks on financial assistance from 18 countries -- including Iceland -- that backed the resolution.

The administration has argued it does not need the international community to intervene because it can investigate these cases, noting the murder conviction of three cops in the killing of then 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in a police operation in 2017. But human rights groups are saying it is not enough assurance justice will also be served in the cases of thousands of other victims.