Libération, a leading French daily newspaper, called Rodrigo Duterte a “serial killer president” in its Oct. 7 banner article.
The four-page story, written by Arnaud Vaulerin, talked about the president’s “bloody” campaign against drugs and criminality that reportedly led to the death of over 3, 000 people since June when Duterte stepped into Malacanang.
The report, which also outlined the provocations of Duterte against U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, is another blow to the image of the tough-talking president in the eyes of the international community.
But does the report make a difference on the majority of the Filipinos?
— Libération (@libe) October 6, 2016
“The best picture, the best mirror of what’s happening in the Philippines, is the public, the citizens who are affected. So far, the response that we see, they have a very high appreciation of what the President is doing,” said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella over DZMM radio interview.
“It’s irresponsible the way they have said it and the way they carelessly used these words and their media power to think the Philippines in such a way. The best way I can say it is, it’s irresponsible.”
While criticizing the French daily newspaper’s report as “too much,” Abella said the people abroad “don’t understand our problems.”
He disclosed that 97 percent of the 45, 000 barangays all over the country “have actually been affected” by illegal drugs.
“Ninety-seven percent of barangays, can you imagine that?” Abella said.
According to Abella, the problem on drug addiction was not given attention for the longest time.
“Now, it has grown so much so that drastic measures have to be taken.”
On Monday, Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III also assailed Liberation’s tag on Duterte, saying it was “unfair”.
“Did they conduct any in-depth, investigative work before they came up with their conclusions?” he asked.
He, however, hoped that international media “should follow the Philippine media before they make unfair headlines.”
Duterte drug war, in the eyes of the international media
The France’s Libération article comes after a series of foreign media reports highlighting Duterte’s iron fist drug policy and alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings.
— The Independent (@Independent) July 30, 2016
The reports prompted criticisms from Obama, United Nations, European Union and international human rights watchdogs.
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) August 3, 2016
— davidslim53 (@davidslim53) October 10, 2016
Meanwhile, Duterte posted a net satisfaction rating of +64 or “very good” in the latest Social Weather Stations survey amid the controversies hounding his first 100 days in office.