Global investigative journalism network names Duterte its 2017 “Person of the Year”
A network of nonprofit investigative centers and several major regional news organizations around the globe has named President Rodrigo Duterte as its “Person of the Year” for his crackdown against illegal drugs.
The network, through its investigative reporting platform known as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), gives the title to an individual every year “who has done the most in the world to advance organized criminal activity and corruption”.
Drew Sullivan, editor of the OCCRP, said Duterte “has made a mockery of rule of law” in the country for empowering corruption “in an innovative way.” Sullivan is one of the nine judges who made the selection from nominations submitted by journalists and the public, according to the OCCRP website report published on Dec. 28, 2017.
“While he is not your typical corrupt leader, he has empowered corruption in an innovative way. His death squads have allegedly focused on criminals but, in fact, are less discriminating,” Sullivan said.
“He has empowered a bully-run system of survival of the fiercest. In the end, the Philippines are more corrupt, more cruel, and less democratic,” he added.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar disputed the award on Saturday, saying that Duterte has done the complete opposite of the OCCRP’s claim.
“Parang kabaliktaran ata dahil ang ating Pangulo ay ginawa naman niya lahat para kalabanin, para labanan ang organized crime para mapuksa ang [inaudible] drugs, ipinagbabawal na gamot, para matigil na ‘yung drug trafficking dito sa ating bansa at para mahinto ang gawin nilang transshipment ng droga ‘yung ating bansa,” Andanar said in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
(It appears that it’s the other way around because our President has done everything to fight organized crime, suppress illegal drugs, eradicate drug trafficking in the country, and stop making the Philippines as the transshipment point of illegal drugs.)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, on the other hand, did not comment on OCCRP’s “recognition”, saying he has “never heard of that award.”
Duterte beat out two African strongmen for the title–South African President Jacob Zuma and recently-ousted Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
The OCCRP had given the distinction before to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, and Russian President Vladimir Putin for their “iron-fisted rule.”
Groundbreaking investigative reports
OCCRP has also spearheaded several groundbreaking investigative reports, including the controversial ‘Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks” database in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It’s most recent work is the $3-billion secret slush fund of Azerbaijan’s ruling elite.
It is also the only full-time investigative reporting organization that specializes in organized crime and corruption.
The panel of judges of the Person of the Year 2017 award is composed of nine corruption-fighting journalists, scholars and activists, including Luis Manuel Botello of Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists./asu
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