VERA Files’ statement on PCOO’s #RealNumbers in Fighting Illegal Drugs

VERA Files stands by its Fact Check that Communications Assistant Secretary Maria Rafael-Banaag contradicted official government data on drug war when she denied that tens of thousands have been killed in the Duterte administration’s controversial anti-illegal-drug campaign.

As stated in our July 12, 2019 Fact Check, the figures of 16,355 “homicides under investigation” from July 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017, and 3,967 “drug personalities who died in anti-drug operations” from July 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017 were under the “Fighting Illegal Drugs” chapter and labelled as “#RealNumbers” in the Duterte Administration’s 2017 Year-end Accomplishment Report published by Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO).

Here’s the screenshot of page 22 of the 2017 Duterte Administration Accomplishment Report:

The above figures belie PCOO’s July 14 statement that homicide cases cited in the Accomplishment Report “under investigation are not at all related to the anti-illegal drugs campaign.”

As stated in the VERA Files Fact Check, the Supreme Court, in an April 2018 resolution, even asked the government to explain the more than 20,000 “officially confirmed” illegal-drug-related deaths:

“This is a total of 20,322 deaths during the Duterte Administration's anti-drug war from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017, or an average of 39.46 deaths every day. This Court wants to know why so many deaths happened as expressly reported under the section "Fighting Illegal Drugs" of the Duterte's Administration 2017 Yearend Report.”


Ellen T. Tordesillas

VERA Files

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