MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday night slammed detractors of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for allegedly criticizing him in a global scale through Netflix.
"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," said Andanar in a statement.
The PCOO chief was referring to Netflix's political-satire show "Patriot Act", hosted by American comedian Hasan Minhaj.
He called Minhaj "gullible" for believing the drug war narrative of Duterte's critics.
"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.
The Palace official cited the Filipino public's continous satisfaction in the performance of the Duterte administration in combatting illegal drugs and poverty.
"For the information of Mr. Minhaj, 6 out of 10 Filipinos pointed out that the illegal drug users in their areas have decreased based on independent pollsters, attesting that the campaign is effective. Also, 7 out of 10 Filipinos mentioned that the Duterte Administration is serious in solving the killings in the country," he said.
"With regard to the root cause, which is poverty, the Duterte Administration remains committed to bringing comfortable lives for all. The latest survey shows that hunger incidence among Filipino families decreased to 9.5 percent while adult joblessness dropped to 19.7 percent," he added.
The PCOO chief said Minhaj exaggerated the 27,000 drug war victim figures he stated in his show.
Andanar said only about 5,050 drug personalities died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018.
"The Philippine National Police (PNP) also reported that a large number of deaths were done by the hands of vigilantes due to the rivalry between drug gangs," he said.
"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.
Arrest of critics due to pending cases
Andanar also cried foul for Minhaj implying that the arrests of Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and Senator Leila de Lima were solely due to their criticisms of 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," he 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.
Nothing wrong with Duterte's endorsement
Andanar defended Duterte's endorsement of candidates in the 2019 senatorial elections. He claimed Minhaj "found fault with the President’s endorsement of certain personalities for the Senate".
Minhaj particularly cited the candidacies of Ilocos governor Imee Marcos, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go, and former PNP chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa in his show.
"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. (PNA)