MANILA -- Senators on Tuesday expressed mixed reactions to the Pulse Asia survey result for September which showed that 88 percent of Filipinos support the war on drugs while 73 percent believed that there are extrajudicial killings.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, in a statement, said these results provide “a crystal-clear mandate to continue the campaign against illegal drugs with renewed vigor.”
Gatchalian, however, pointed out that the challenge now is to carry out the drug war in a way that will inspire public confidence in law enforcement authorities and avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
He added that this can be accomplished by instituting reforms to assure transparency and accountability in the conduct of anti-drug operations.
The senator said constitutional rights of drug suspects and bystanders should be respected at all times.
Gatchalian, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will be successful in meeting this challenge.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, for his part, found the results “disturbing.”
“It’s disturbing to some and maybe dangerous to many. Because if Filipinos feel resigned, that EJKs are all right just to solve the drug problem, then we must rethink our position,” Lacson said in a separate statement.
Lacson said it seemed like Filipinos already “accept” extrajudicial killings as a reality.
“So when as I said earlier if 88 out of 100 Filipinos say we trust the government, and it’s also in a manner saying that they support the methods because they support the drug war being implemented by the government,” Lacson added.
He clarified that this does not necessarily mean that because Filipinos support the drug war, they also support the methods.
However, he noted that it cannot be denied that somehow, subliminally or otherwise, that any method could be done to fight it. (PNA)