Malacañang on Tuesday said the government would exert greater efforts to uphold rule of law in the Philippines, after its low ranking in a recent global index.

The Philippines ranked 102nd out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index released last week. It ranked 91st in 2020.

“Well, we stand by what Secretary of Justice [Menardo] Guevarra said that we are going to exert greater efforts to uphold and promote the rule of law in the country,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Roque also echoed Guevarra’s claim that crime numbers in the Philippines have been dwindling, except for “a few sensational cases.”

“At bukod pa rito, ang gobyerno po ay tinutugunan iyong mga paglabag ng karapatang pantao at saka iyong mga alleged abuses sa conduct ng campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.

In September, the ICC greenlit a probe on drug war deaths under the Duterte administration as there was “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019.

Data from international rights group Human Rights Watch claims that over 12,000 Filipinos have died due to Duterte’s “war on drugs” since he took office in June 2016.

The WJP report also ranked the Philippines 13th out of 15 countries in the East Asia and the Pacific region, only ahead of Myanmar and Cambodia.

The index measured adherence to the rule of law based on eight indicators: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice. John Ezekiel J. Hirro