SWS: Many Filipinos believe those killed in drug war didn't fight back

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — The Social Weather Stations (SWS) on Wednesday reported more than half of Filipinos (54 percent) surveyed think many of those killed in the drug war did not really fight back.

"The very poor are more likely than the wealthy to disbelieve the 'nanlaban' reason for killings attributed to the police," the SWS said, as among the class E, 58 percent agreed with the statement, while only 40 percent of the class ABC believed it to be true.

In the same survey, nearly half or 49 percent agreed with the statement: "Many of those killed were not really drug pushers."

Twenty-three percent disagreed with the statement, while 27 percent were undecided.

In Metro Manila, where most of the killings are taking place, 58 percent agreed that many who have been killed were not drug pushers, followed by the Visayas at 52 percent, and Mindanao at 45 percent.

Half of those who were surveyed also agreed that false accusations of drug involvement caused many of the killings either by the police or vigilantes.

Most of those who agreed were from Metro Manila (63 percent), followed by Mindanao (51 percent), and the Visayas (42 percent).

The survey was conducted from June 23 to 26, 2017 through face-to face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide.

Malacañang, however, disagreed with the survey results.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the survey seemed to contain leading and pointed questions that may have influenced the answers of respondents.

Abella pointed out the following statements included in the poll:

Marami sa mga pinatay ng mga pulis sa kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay hindi totoong nanlaban sa pulis.

[Translation:Many of those killed by police in the campaign against illegal drugs did not fight back against the police.]

Marami sa mga pinatay ng mga pulis sa kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay hindi naman talaga mga nagtutulak ng droga o pusher.

[Translation: Many of those killed by police in the campaign against illegal drugs were not really drug pushers.]

Marami ang nagsisinungaling at itinuturo ang kanilang mga personal na mga kaaway bilang drug user/pusher para mabigyang dahilan na patayin ang mga taong ito ng mga pulis o vigilante.

[Translation: Many are lying and pointed out people with whom they have grudges as drug users/pushers to give police or vigilantes reason to kill them.]

"We expect pollsters to exercise prudence and objectivity to arrive at a closer approximation of public sentiment," he said.

The results of the SWS survey comes after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addressed the United Nations General Assembly in Geneva, where he said the government's war against drugs is a "necessary instrument" to preserve and protect, and not violate human rights in the country.

READ: Cayetano to UN: PH anti-drug war protects human rights

Earlier, the Philippines rejected 154 of 257 recommendations by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) aimed at improving the country's human rights situation.

The recommendations are a result of the UNHRC's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines on May 8. The UPR is periodic review of the human rights records of all UN member states.

READ: PH rejects over half of human rights recommendations of UN

Most of the recommendations that the Philippines rejected pertained to:

  • Investigating alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs)
  • Stopping the reimposition of the death penalty
  • Stopping the lowering of the age of criminal liability

In the September 19 response to the UNHRC's recommendations, the government said of the 154 recommendations, it cannot support 99 of these.

The government also said it cannot support the other 55 recommendations, as they were "sweeping, vague, and even contradictory."

CNN Philippines digital producers Chad de Guzman and VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.