MANILA — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Maria Paz Banaag said Friday the number of casualties in the government's ongoing campaign against illegal drugs in the country has been verified by joint law enforcement agencies, and dared those who lodged complaints before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to "prove their numbers."

Banaag made the comment after the ICC decided to conduct a preliminary examination on President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war based on the complaint filed by Jude Sabio, lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato.

Banaag said when Sabio filed a complaint before the ICC in April 2017, the number of deaths in the total 53,503 anti-illegal drugs operations were only 2,692.

Sabio’s claim, however, is 7,000 — more than twice that figure.

She noted that government data obtained were official and verified by joint law enforcement agencies including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Banaag urged Sabio's camp to "back up" their numbers, if indeed they claim that their data weren't a "bloated sum."

“Ibig sabihin hindi natin alam kung saan sila nagbase du’n sa mga numero nila unless of course nagimbento sila ng numero at ipinarating sa international community na ito yung nangyayari sa ating bansa. Of course they cannot succeed they should have data that is verified coming from the government's law enforcement agencies like PNP, PDEA, NBI na gumagawa ng anti-illegal drugs operation sa ating bansa (It means we don't know where they based their numbers unless they just invented those figures and brought them up to the international community. Of course they cannot succeed, they should have verified data coming from law enforcement agencies like PNP, PDEA and NBI who are front liners in the anti-drugs campaign)," she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“We don’t know where they got the numbers, if they asked us and this is what we have, and this is the data. This has names, this has faces and people na pwede natin iverify na may mga pangalan. They cannot prove what are the names of the 13,000 that they are trying to alleged yan ang kulang sa kanila magsabi ng numero na hindi naman kaya backapan," she added.

Banaag noted that since the launch of #RealNumbersPH in May 2017, agencies involved in the implementation of the programs related to illegal drugs have exerted collaborative efforts to give an update on the latest data on the anti-drugs campaign, and provide accurate numbers on the operations, arrests, confiscation, and seizure of drug paraphernalia.

#RealNumbersPH is the government’s unitary report on the anti-drug war campaign of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs or ICAD, which was established as a task force with representatives from about 20 law-enforcement and other state agencies.

“Every month since May 2017, we see numbers that allow us to understand how we are progressing in the campaign against illegal drugs,” Banaag explained.

Based on the consolidated report from July 2016 up to Jan. 17, 2018, a total of 81,919 anti-drug operations have been conducted.

It showed that 3,987 drug suspects have died during operations, 87 were killed in action, while 226 were wounded from the side of law enforcers.

Authorities also arrested some 119,361 individuals involved in illegal drugs during the period.

Included in the total figure were 446 government workers -- 189 of them elected officials, 44 uniformed personnel, and 213 government employees.

Authorities also dismantled a total of 183 clandestine shabu laboratories and drug dens in the country as part of the government's intensified campaign against narcotics.

Seized from these labs and dens were illegal drugs amounting to PHP19.34 billion.

As of Jan. 17, a total of 2,577.05 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" with an estimated street value of PHP13.24 billion were seized.

This is an increase of PHP114.16 million when compared to the 2,560.48 kilos (PHP13.13 billion) seized last December 2017. (PNA)