MALACAÑANG yesterday scoffed at detained Sen. Leila de Lima’s inclusion on TIME Magazine’s list of most influential people alongside President Rodrigo Duterte. The prestigious list released Thursday placed Duterte under the “Leaders” category, while De Lima was listed among “Icons.”
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella cited in its press statement to Palace reporters how the piece on De Lima, written by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Williams, shunned circumstances that led to her detention.
“In the case of Sen. De Lima, TIME 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,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement to reporters.
Abella pointed out that in her piece, Williams described De Lima’s fierce opposition to Duterte’s campaign.
“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,” Williams wrote of De Lima.
“And yet, even from prison, she continues to speak out against her President: ‘It’s not O.K. with me that we have a murderous psychopath occupying the highest post in the land’,” Williams added, in reference to De Lima’s daily dispatches from her cell.
Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria meanwhile, wrote the article on Duterte, looking back on his presidency in Colombia and comparing it with Duterte’s intensive anti-narcotics campaign.
Earlier this year, Gaviria wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times warning against Duterte’s violent approach to end the drug problem.
The President responded by calling him an idiot.
He reiterated his points in writing about Duterte for TIME.
Responding to the Gaviria piece, Abella cited continuing public support for Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
“The fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal hard drugs, crime and corruption,” he said.