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Malacañang is not exactly thrilled that President Duterte shares the same spotlight with one of his staunchest critics, Sen. Leila M. de Lima, in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2017.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the international magazine failed to point out De Lima has been detained pending a trial for alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
“In the case of Sen. De Lima, TIME conveniently failed to clarify that she was jailed not for her criticisms against the administration but because an independent court found probable cause in support of the criminal charges against her for alleged violation of the law on illegal drugs,” Abella said.
Duterte has been named one of TIME’s honorees under “Leaders” but the profile written by former Colombian President Cèsar Gaviria was largely critical of his brutal war on illegal drugs.
De Lima, on the other hand, was listed under “Icons.” The senator’s strong criticisms of Duterte’s drug campaign were highlighted in the profile written by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
Reacting to Duterte’s inclusion in the Time list, Abella said: “The fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal hard drugs, crime, and corruption.”
In the TIME profile of Duterte, Gaviria wrote about the 7,000 drug killings since the Philippine leader came to power and how “iron-fisted strategy” has alarmed governments, human rights, and religious groups.
Gaviria also shared his experience that taking a tough stance against drugs did not work when he was leader of Colombia. He instead suggested Duterte to treat drugs as a health and human rights and development issue.
(Genalyn D. Kabiling)