Palace hits ‘falsehoods’ vs Duterte on Netflix’s ‘Patriot Act’
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang slammed American comedian Hasan Minhaj for his latest episode of Netflix’s political-satire show “Patriot Act” where he presented “erroneous narratives” about President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine politics.
In the newest episode, which streamed on May 12, a day before the midterm elections, Hasan criticized Duterte’s war on drugs and shared his thoughts on the President’s senatorial candidates.
“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,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement late Tuesday night.
Andanar hit Hasan for calling Duterte an “autocrat” and for his “exaggerated” figures on the death toll in the government’s war on drugs.
“Mr. Hasan Minhaj, an American comedian and host, maliciously implied that President Duterte is an ‘autocrat’ who ‘every so often goes on a killing spree,'” he said.
“He cited an exaggerated figure — 27,000, which is way higher than the official figure – to besmirch the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” he added.
Citing government data, Andanar said, “there are about 5,050 drug personalities who died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018.”
He cited the report of the Philippine National Police “that a large number of deaths were done by the hands of vigilantes due to the rivalry between drug gangs.”
Aside from law enforcement, the Palace official said the government had rehabilitation programs.
Since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, he said there were about 303,533 individuals who graduated from these 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.
Andanar cited recent surveys that showed 6 out of 10 Filipinos, saying illegal drug users in their areas, “attesting that the campaign is effective.”
He added that “7 out of 10 Filipinos mentioned that the Duterte Administration is serious in solving the killings in the country.”
“With regard to the root cause, which is poverty,” he said, “the Duterte administration remains committed to bringing comfortable lives for all.”
He again cited the latest survey, which showed that hunger incidence among Filipino families decreased to 9.5% while adult joblessness dropped to 19.7%.
In his video, Hasan also criticized Duterte’s endorsement of some senatorial candidates.
“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,” Andanar said.
He said the results of the midterm elections, which showed Duterte-backed candidates dominating the Senate’s top 12, proved Filipinos still favored Duterte.
“The President called on the public to vote for those who support his measures to uplift people from poverty and have a stable, comfortable, and peaceful life that they deserve. He also called on the public to dismiss black propaganda against the administration amid the midterm elections,” he said.
“The preliminary results of the nationwide polls affirmed that the public indeed heeded the President’s call. This proves that the voting population continues to believe in the genuine reforms advocated by the candidates endorsed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added.
Hasan also mentioned detained Sen. Leila de Lima and Rappler chief Maria Ressa for “standing up against Duterte.”
“On Ms. Ressa and Senator De Lima, their cases underwent legal processes and their politics, or opposition to President Duterte, has nothing to do with the charges that they are now facing,” Andanar said.
“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 added. (Editor: Cenon B. Bibe Jr.)
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