By Aaron Recuenco
Incidences of murder and homicide in Metro Manila was reduced by 50 percent in what appears to be a big slowdown in cases of killings in the first six months of this year.
But the data on killings are still high for the first two years of the administration of President Duterte compared to the last two years of the Aquino administration.
From July 2014 to June 2016, 1,621 murder cases were reported in Metro Manila alone but the figure had ballooned to 3,435 from July 2016 to June 30 this year, or an increase by 112 percent.
Critics attribute the big jump in murder cases to the war on drugs that started in July 2016 wherein vigilante groups were reportedly inspired to kill suspected drug pushers and users that sometimes led to the death of innocent civilians, including children, as collateral damage.
Based on the data from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), murder cases in the metropolis came down from 832 from January to June last year to 451 cases for the same period this year, or a 54 percent decrease.
A significant reduction was also posted in cases of homicide with 45 percent decrease, or from 242 last year to 108 this year.
Nationwide, more than 4,200 suspected drug pushers and users were reported killed in various police operations since the war on drugs was launched while more than 60 cops were also killed in the same operations for the same period.
The figure, however, was on top of the cases of killings across the country, majority of them are not yet solved while some are related to illegal drugs allegedly perpetrated by vigilante groups.
Based on the command conference late May this year, some 23,000 cases of homicide, or what the Philippine National Police (PNP) classified as Homicide Cases Under Investigation, were reported from July 2016 to May 15 this year.
The PNP leadership, however, denied the data although reliable sources confirmed the figure. But the sources clarified that the almost 23,000 figure include all the cases of homicide and that only a portion of them were found to be drugs-related. Most of those cases, however, remain unsolved.
Crimes against persons
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, NCRPO director, said they reported decrease in all four-points of the crimes against persons in Metro Manila for the first six months of this year.
For the so-called crime against persons, Eleazar said they were able to reduce it from 3,755 last year to only 2,535, or a 32 percent reduction for the past six months.
The crimes of murder and homicide posted the biggest reduction on the crime against person with 54 percent and 45 percent decreases respectively— from 832 to 381 for murder and from 242 to 134 for homicide.
Cases of physical injuries in Metro Manila were also reduced by 28 percent or from 2,198 to 1,591 while cases of rape decreased from 483 to 429, or an 11 percent reduction.
Crimes against property
Eleazar said a 20 percent reduction was also recorded for what police describe as crime against property—the top four of which are theft, robbery, carnapping involving cars and carnapping involving motorcycles.
For crime against property, cases of theft posted the biggest decrease with 23 percent or from 3,486 in January to June last year to 2,638 of the same period this year.
This was followed by robbery which had a 16 percent decrease, or from 1,512 in the first six months last year to 1,266 this year. For carnapping of motorcycles, a total of 403 were recorded last year but it was reduced to 35 this year.
Only cases of carnapping of cars posted an increase, from 7 last year to 83 this year, or an eight percent reduction.
8 focused crimes
Eleazar attributed the decrease in both the strategic deployment for police visibility particularly in crime-prone areas and focused operations on suspected criminals, particularly those engaged in drug trade.
“We concentrate on what we call eight focus crimes and we were able to post reduction in all of these eight,” said Eleazar.