May 15, 2019
Malacanang has slammed an American comedian for allegedly demonizing President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration on his program aired on Netflix.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar accused Hasan Minhaj of "maliciously" implying that Duterte was an "autocrat" who "every so often goes on a killing spree" in his comedy show with the episode entitled "Brazil, Corruption and the Rainforest."
The episode, which was shown before a global audience, was aired on the eve of the May 13 midterm elections.
"We find it desperate that, on the eve of the Philippine midterm elections, the vociferous detractors of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would use an American comedy show, aired on Netflix, to demonize the Chief Executive and his government in its episode entitled 'Brazil, Corruption and the Rainforest' before the global audience," he said.
Andanar said Minhaj cited an "exaggerated figure" of 27,000 as to the supposed number of individuals who were killed due to Duterte's war on drugs.
He said the figure, which was higher than the official data, aimed "to besmirch the government's campaign against illegal drugs."
According to the government's data, over 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in the anti-drug operations since Duterte assumed office in 2016.
"Based on our Real Numbers PH program where we carefully extract and verify data from government agencies, there are about 5,050 drug personalities who died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018. The Philippine National Police also reported that a large number of deaths were done by the hands of vigilantes due to the rivalry between drug gangs. There were also 164,265 individuals arrested during the same police operations," Andanar said.
He also cited that 303,533 individuals have graduated from the government's rehabilitation programs.
"We express outrage that such erroneous narratives, obviously peddled by anti-Duterte haters and trolls, would find their way to the gullible TV host and his comedy show and unwittingly parrot these falsehoods to an audience unaware of the real score in the Philippines," he said.
On Minhaj praises to Rappler president and CEO Maria Ressa and detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima for "standing up against Duterte," the official claimed that their opposition against Duterte has nothing to do with the charges they are now facing.
"Both personalities violated domestic laws with Ms. Ressa committing tax evasion, breach of anti-dummy laws, and violation of cyber laws; and Senator De Lima transgressing anti-drug laws," he said.
De Lima, a staunch critic of the President, said she is being politically persecuted as she denied involvement in illegal drug trade.
Ressa, on the other hand, claimed she and Rappler have not violated any law. Rappler is also critical of the Duterte administration.
On Duterte's endorsement of some senatorial candidates, which Minhaj "found fault" with, he said, "the Philippines, like the USA, is a country where democracy is vibrant and the will of the people reigns supreme."
"Ultimately, it is the Filipino people who will choose their own set of leaders and we simply have to respect the results of the elections."
Based on the Commission on Elections partial, official results, most of Duterte-backed senatorial candidates are likely to win in the midterm elections, which took place on May 13. Celerina Monte/DMS
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