War on drugs: What the numbers show


A HUNDRED days into his presidency, Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “war on drugs” has chalked up an official tally of 3,652 deaths.

The Philippine National Police classifies 1,377 or 38 percent of the deaths as having occurred in legitimate anti-drug operations and 321 or 9 percent as deaths it has investigated and “cleared” (suspect identified and filed with a case even if at large) or “solved” (suspect either killed, arrested and filed with a case).

More than half the deaths—1,954 in all—are what the PNP calls “deaths under investigation.” Critics have branded them as extrajudicial killings or summary execution, but the PNP considers them as “murder and homicide cases still under investigation.”

Data released by the PNPon the deaths are scant, however, making it difficult to determine patterns in the killings. So far, these consist only of the number of cases and victims, categories of victims and regional tallies.

Attempts at independent analysis are also hobbled by the PNP’s reluctance to release spot reports on the incidents.

No less than Sen. Franklin Drilon was rebuffedwhen he asked PNP Chief Ronaldo de la Rosa for a copyof the reports at a Senate hearing on Sept.15.

De la Rosa’s explanation: He needed to get Duterte’s clearance to do that,and the president was still reading the reports.

Drilon has said the spot reports make up the “best evidence” on the killings.

As a consequence of limited information from official sources, news organizations such as ABS-CBN and make the best of what they can get hold of.

ABS-CBN has built a database out of “national and local news reports, and PNP Regional Office press releases.” It has recorded 1,976 drug-related deaths since the May 10 elections, or about half of PNP’s figure.

The network’s Investigative and Research Group has turned its data into interactive maps and charts that show the names and aliases of those who were killed, the dates and areas where the killings took place, the type of incident, and the death toll in the area. Its visualizations stop there, however.

Since July 7, or a week into the Duterte presidency, started “The Kill List” compiled from its archives.The list counts 1,213 killings as of noon of Oct. 3.That’s a third of PNP’s deathtoll.

Like ABS-CBN, The Kill List provides the names, aliases, dates, type of incident and places where the killings took place.

Unlike ABS-CBN, however,’s list supplies information on the time of the incident, the circumstances (found dead with a placard or killed while being served an arrest warrant, for example) and data that enable one to identify the category of the

VERA Files did some number-crunching using The Kill List. Here are what the numbers say: