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Palace: People still backing war on drugs despite Time warning

/ 05:31 PM April 21, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the support of Filipinos, Secretary Ernesto Abella, presidential spokesperson, said on Friday after Duterte was listed on Time magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People.

The magazine included Duterte among the most influential Leaders, and the blurb about him was written by former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, who earlier questioned the Philippine President’s strategy in dealing with illegal drugs.

In his blurb, Gaviria continued to warn Duterte about his approach to his war on drugs strategy, describing it as “ill considered.” The former Colombian president advised Duterte to treat drugs as a health, human rights, and development issue. He said Duterte should prosecute criminals and treat users rather than jailing them – or worse.

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But Abella said Duterte had the people’s backing in his war on drugs.

“The fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal hard drugs, crime and corruption,” Abella said.

Gaviria’s earlier commentary, published in last Februaryin the Opinion section of the New York Times, did not well with Duterte. He called Gaviria an “idiot” and said Colombia’s drug problem had to do with cocaine, which had a different effect on users compared to methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, which is a widely used drug in the Philippines.

The Time list also included Duterte’s constant and vocal critic Sen. Leila de Lima, who was grouped among the influential Icons.

The blurb on the jailed De Lima was written by Samantha Power, a former US Ambassador to the United Nations.

In her write-up on De Lima, Power expressed concern on the lack of support for the senator.

“It is a disturbing testament to the current solidarity among strongmen and the global surge in impunity that de Lima’s cause has not been more embraced,” Power said. “And yet, even from prison, she continues to speak out against her President.”

Malacañang pointed out that the write-up failed to mention that the reason for De Lima’s detention was that a court ordered her arrest for her alleged links to the illegal drug trade.

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“In the case of Senator De Lima, Tine 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. /atm

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TAGS: Ernesto Abella, Leila de Lima, Rodrigo Duterte, Time 100 Most Influential People, war on drugs
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