Palace lambasts detractors over Netflix video attacking Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   May 15, 2019   •   4852

Political comedian Hasan Minhaj | Courtesy: Netflix

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang lambasted a political-satire show on Netflix hosted by comedian Hasan Minhaj for “maliciously (implying) that President (Rodrigo) Duterte is an ‘autocrat’ who ‘every so often goes on a killing spree’.

“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 made the remark after an episode of Hasan’s show “Patriot Act” went viral on social media a day before the May 13 midterm elections.

The Secretary hit Hasan for his “exaggerated” figures as the latter claimed that the government’s war on drugs allegedly yielded 27,000 deaths which is way higher than the actual, official count.

According to the Andanar, “There are about 5,050 drug personalities who died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018.”

“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.

In fact, Andanar said, a recent survey by an independent pollster which showed that 6 out of 10 Filipinos expressed their support to the government’s war on drugs “attesting that the campaign is effective.”

Also, in his video, the American comedian criticized Duterte for his endorsement of some senatorial aspirants.

In response, Andanar defended Duterte saying: “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.”

But even if the President endorsed names for the senatorial election, the official argued that it is still the Filipino people that will decide on who shall be their leaders.

“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,” Secretary Andanar stressed.

He added that the results of the midterm elections, which favored the candidates endorsed by President Duterte, just prove the Filipinos’ trust on the Chief Executive.

“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

In the latter part of his commentary, Hasan expressed praises for personalities critical to the Duterte administration such as detained Senator Leila de Lima and Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa for “standing up” against the President.

But Andanar argued that “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,”

“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,” the Communication Secretary explained. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosaliie Coz)

Senate OKs bill giving Duterte power to delay class opening during public crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘flexibility’ to schedule the opening of classes in schools during a state of emergency.

Voting 23-0, senators on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1541, which proposes to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act 7797, a law which sets the opening of school-year as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

The measure covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the country.

Once enacted into law, the bill would authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education, to set the opening of classes nationwide or in selected areas at any date during a state of emergency or calamity.

A similar measure has been approved in the committee level in the House of Representatives on Saturday.

The approval of the proposed measure comes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected millions of people worldwide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte certifies as urgent bill seeking to toughen PH anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.

In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.

In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.

Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.

Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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