Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Chief of the PNP Directorial Staff. (File photo)

MANILA -- The significant decline in the country's crime rate is proof of the Duterte administration's victory in its intensified campaign against all forms of criminality, particularly illegal drugs, a ranking police official said on Wednesday.

"This is clear proof that President Duterte's drug war is winning. And we have been on the right path in the campaign against illegal drugs because the consistent decline in crime means continuous improvement in peace and order," Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of PNP Directorial Staff, said in a statement.

From July 2016 when the drug war was launched up to June 2018, PNP data showed a 21.5 percent decline in the country's crime rate compared to crime data from July 2014 to June 2016.

For the entire 2018, there was a 9 percent decrease in the crime volume compared in 2017. An average of 3 to 5 percent was also recorded in the first three quarters of 2019.

Metro Manila is one of the favorite playing grounds of drug syndicates due to its huge population.

Eleazar highlighted the importance of Metro Manila in the link between crime and illegal drugs since the country's main region serves as a picture of the crime situation in the country.

In highlighting the importance of peace and order in gauging the impact of the drug war, Eleazar noted some of the observations by the PNP leadership.

One of them, he said, is that most of the criminal acts committed are drug-related -- either the perpetrators are high on drugs when they committed rape or murder for instance or that those who engaged in robbery and snatching were doing it to have enough money to buy shabu.

He added that in a number of cases, some of the arrested or slain drug users and pushers were involved in multiple criminal cases.

"We should also not forget that it is the people in the barangay themselves who were saying that the peace and order situation in their community has improved significantly because of the drug war. It is these people themselves who are now saying that the drug pushers and users, who used to be neighborhood toughies, are now scared," Eleazar said.

Another proof, according to Eleazar, is people in the community now have the courage to report to the police the drug users and pushers in their barangay because they saw an ally in the police in running after illegal drug personalities.

This is the reason, according to Eleazar, why the drug war continuously enjoys the trust and confidence of the public which eventually translated to high trust, satisfaction and popularity ratings of President Duterte in various surveys.

"It is unfair not to include the impact of the drug war on peace and order because it is the people in the community who experience and witness the improvement in peace and order due to our campaign against illegal drugs," Eleazar explained.

On Monday, Vice President Leni Robredo Robredo, who served as co-chairperson of Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD) for 18 days, claimed that the Duterte administration’s three-year drug war only seized less than one percent of the total shabu supply in the country.

Citing police data, Robredo said the approximate consumption of shabu in the country is 3,000 kilos weekly or about 156,000 kilos a year.

She also noted that only PHP1.4 billion worth of illegal drugs has been apprehended, despite the fact that around PHP1.3 trillion worth of shabu circulates nationwide.

However, PNP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said Robredo used unofficial data in her report on the war on drugs.

"These estimates are unofficial data. When you plan to sustain the anti-drug campaign, you have to do some estimates, and we do this by contingency planning," Banac said in a television interview on Wednesday.

Banac explained that the data used by Robredo was only theoretical and hypothetical.

"We cannot use it to compare to the amount of drugs actually seized in operations," Banac said.

Banac said the data got by Robredo from the PNP was only an estimate for projections.

"We made an estimate and the VP used it to compare the amount of drugs confiscated during the actual operations," Banac added.

For his part, PDEA chief Aaron Aquino said that the report of Robredo was not an official figure.

"Hindi official figure [That's not an official figure], you cannot compare factual data which is seizure namin, from estimate na hindi naman official figure," Aquino explained in a radio interview.

Based on the PDEA data, 16,706 barangays out of 33,881 or 49.13 percent were cleared of illegal drugs

A total of PHP45 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized from 2016 to 2019 from the 162,987 operations with 225,284 arrests, Aquino reported.

Meanwhile, PNP reiterated that Oplan Tokhang could not be scrapped, contrary to the suggestion of Robredo in her report.

"It has accomplished so many things, taken drugs off the streets," Banac said.

Malacañang also dismissed Robredo’s findings and recommendations on the illegal drugs campaign as “a dud” stressing that she was only trying to be “relevant”. (PNA)