By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded more than 9,000 deaths in 2018 but a top police official said the figure is on a downtrend compared to two preceding years.
Of the figure, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said that 6,866 of them are considered as murder while a total of 2,151 cases are considered as homicide.
Both the figures, he said, are classified as Death Under Investigation.
“There have has been a downtrend since 2016, 2017 and 2018. The murder and homicide cases these are all crimes against persons,” said Albayalde.
Albayalde said there were a total of 37,864 crime against person reported since 2016 but the official did not say how many of them are murder and homicide cases. Rape and physical injuries are also considered as crime against person.
It was recalled that since December 2016, the PNP had stopped releasing data on the number of deaths it has been recording across the country due to intense criticisms of the drug war.
Some police officials said the reason behind is that all the deaths recorded are presumed drugs-related, with some critics allegedly deliberately twisting the facts to attack the Duterte administration’s drug war.
In May last year, police data disclosed that there were almost 23,000 deaths recorded since 2016, classified as Homicide Cases Under Investigation.
But Albayalde denied the figure when asked about the data in one of the press briefings at Camp Crame last year. The PNP, however, would not release data to dispute it.
While the crime rate has been going down since 2017 based on the data released by the PNP, the figures under murder and homicide rose sharply starting July 2016 when the drug war was launched.
But Albayalde said there has been a downtrend since last year.
The official said the decrease in crime rate is being considered as a gauge that the government is winning the drug war.
“Our basis for saying that we are winning is because the continuous decline of our crime volume, improvement on peace and order. This is the best indication that we are winning the war on drugs it’s because if you are not winning the war on drugs then probably all the other crimes are probably still there,” said Albayalde.
The official said that crimes committed, both for crime against persons and crime against property, are usually connected to illegal drugs use.
“It went down by more than 60 percent, actually almost all our crimes including rape, crimes against property, theft and all are continuously on a downtrend,” said Albayalde.
“So this is the best indication that we are actually gaining, these are the gains of our efforts on our war on drugs because the President is correct when he said that those perpetrators on other crimes are those also involved in illegal drugs,” he added.
More than 5,000 suspected drug pushers and users were killed in what the PNP describes as legitimate anti-drugs operations.
On the other hand, more than 223,000 drug users and pushers were arrested since the drug war was launched in July 2016. Some of those arrested, as well as those who surrendered, were also killed either in police operations or by vigilante groups.