Leni Robredo should set the record straight on the Philippines’ “War on Drugs” death toll

Having taken the job of co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), “vice president” Leni Robredo has vowed to “get the facts straight” on the actual situation of the Philippine Government’s on-going “War on Drugs”. Considering that this initiative is being criticised for what many describe as its unnecessarily “bloody” nature, part of an effort to get the facts straight is to get the death toll statistical record straight.

As co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Robredo is expected to get full access to information, including investigation reports into police operations which resulted in deaths.

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“The first thing that VP Leni will do is to really get a good grasp of how big the problem is,” [Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson and legal advisor] told ABS-CBN News.

“As the person tasked with leading government effort on anti-illegal drugs, she has to have that information.”

Indeed, this is an opportune time for an outsider who is now an insider to address the mystery that continues to persist. How many have died?

There has been a great deal of debate about the death toll, with competing claims made by police officials, the government and human rights groups.

Separate investigations are currently being carried out by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

That the numbers remain debatable has not stopped so-called “news” outlets like “social news network” Rappler from “reporting” one number or another as fact. Back in 2017, Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao cited the dishonesty with which Rappler had been demonising the Duterte government using these so-called “death toll” figures.

I had emailed Rappler managing editor Glenda Gloria and the researcher who wrote the piece, Michael Bueza, two weeks before I wrote my exposes on their epic lie, requesting if they could clarify to me how they got the 7,080 figure. They didn’t respond at all, not even a “no-comment” or mind-your-own-business reply.

It is so unfortunate and unfair for our country that Rappler’s 7,080 number has been swallowed uncritically by the European Union Parliament, the Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, USA Today, and by most foreign media, exaggerating by a third the number of those killed in Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Rappler had long been criticised for what has been consistently described as its “biased” approach to news “reporting”. As such, it would be interesting, now that Robredo is an insider in the government’s War on Drugs, to observe what sort of slant Rappler “reporters” would put to stories around Robredo’s efforts to get the “actual” death toll statistics.

In this regard, Robredo has, at least, this aspect of the job cut out for her. Her getting on top of the facts on the true casualty count broken down by cause and circumstance of death and then standing by these numbers would be a welcome validation — or indictment, if the facts tell so — of the Philippines’ on-going War on Drugs.

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3 Comments on “Leni Robredo should set the record straight on the Philippines’ “War on Drugs” death toll”

  1. Lugaw Robredo, took the job as co chair on the war on drugs; without any clue of what the job is…
    She is a Press Con addict; who ask reporters, to cover her moves on the war on drugs. The propaganda machine of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis like the : ABS CBN, Rappler.com, etc… are on the “high gear” to cover her every move , in the war on drug.

    Nobody can get any exact figure of the casualties in any war… People kill each other, and they don’t go on counting , how many they have killed. It is called : “THE FOG OF WAR”…

    The U.N., the Human Rights Groups, the ICC, etc..are the willing tools of the opponents of Pres. Duterte; to use to remove him from power, and install the fake Vice President Lugaw Robredo. The U.S./C.I.A. is also watching, like “vulture” in the background. While the Aquino Conjuangco political axis Puppeteers of Lugaw Robredo, keeps pulling her strings, to make another 1986 EDSA coup d’ etat. They cannot win in any elections, as proven by their “otso diretso” candidates. So they resort to foreigners to install them into power…

    Lugaw Robredo is just a political nuisance, with Press Con people on her tow , to cover her !

  2. Good mood or bad mood?

    Maria Ressa/Rappler probably applied some simplistic eyeball-rolling emo-based algorithm to come up with that bogus 7,080 death toll figure, pretty much like how Charlene blindsided the pageant host and the entire international viewing public with that “+1” trick:

    1994 Miss Philippines Charlene Gonzales: 7,107 islands during high tide and 7,108 during low tide.

  3. Leni should enlighten normal people ( those not beholden to yellow ideologies) why she is someone worth believing in. Back in 2012 her husband’s plane went missing and his apartment broken in on the same day and she seems to believe that is a coincidence. Maybe it is just me but Leni doesn’t seem to do much enlightening is her life. Someone should coin the nickname Debbie Boone.

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