Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte topped Times' readers' poll as most influential person.
PHOTO BY PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS
MANILA – After earlier topping an online poll by Time, President Rodrigo Duterte, as expected, is in the magazine’s official list of 100 Most Influential People for 2017.
But Duterte is not the only Filipino in the list, along with him is his fiercest critic – jailed opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
Duterte was in the “leaders category” along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while De Lima was listed among the “icons” together with African-American actress Viola Davis (the only black actress to have three Oscar nominations), American actor and drag queen RuPaul, and Canadian environmentalist Margaret Atwood.
Time on Thursday announced the 100 Most Influential People for 2017 that included actors, musicians, politicians, business leaders, activists and scientists.
Former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria, who had fought notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, wrote a short piece about Duterte, which he started off with Duterte’s quote about killing three million drug addicts in the same way that German dictator Hitler massacred Jews in World War II.
Gaviria criticized Duterte’s anti-drug war, describing it as “ill-considered” as Duterte’s grasp of history.
“Since Duterte’s inauguration last year, some 7,000 people have been killed. His ironfisted strategy alarms governments, human rights organizations and faith-based groups while winning high approval ratings at home,” Gaviria said.
He urged Duterte to stop his bloody anti-illegal drugs campaign and “start by treating drugs as a health, human rights and development issue.”
“There will always be drugs in the Philippines, whether the President likes it or not. The tragedy is that many more people are likely going to die as he learns this lesson,” Gaviria said.
The Colombian president recalled that he “was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs but after spending billions, I discovered that the war was unwinnable and the human costs were devastating. The cure was infinitely worse than the disease.”
This is not the first time Gaviria has criticized the drug war of the Duterte administration as he earlier lambasted the campaign in an opinion piece published in The New York Times last February titled “President Duterte is repeating my mistakes”.
After that opinion piece came out, Duterte called Gaviria an “idiot”.
Meanwhile, former US envoy to the UN Samantha Power wrote the piece about De Lima.
Power, in her piece, said: “Leila de Lima knew with whom she was dealing. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (dubbed ‘Duterte Harry’) has insulted Pope Francis, told US President Barack Obama to ‘go to hell’ and expressed regret he did not go ‘first’ in a gang rape. But Senator de Lima has become Duterte’s most vocal critic – a role her friends call suicidal. Last August de Lima convened a hearing on Duterte’s drug-war killings, featuring devastating testimony from a former hit man. Duterte allies stripped de Lima of her justice committee chair. In February she was jailed.”
De Lima was charged by the justice department for allegedly violating the anti-illegal drugs act by tolerating illegal drug operations in the national penitentiary when she was still justice secretary during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
The regional trial court in Muntinlupa ordered her arrest thereafter.
De Lima has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the charges against her, claiming that the local court has no jurisdiction over her. GAC/Expat Media
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