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Kunwari lang ayaw! TIME writer believes Duterte likes being called a strongman ‘more than he’s willing to admit’

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The American political scientist who branded President Rodrigo Duterte a “strongman” for TIME Magazine stands by his story despite criticism from the Chief Executive.

In an opinion piece posted Saturday (May 12) on TIME’s website, Ian Bremmer said he’s not the only foreigner whose opinion Duterte attacked in public.

He noted that the President has also criticized human rights groups critical of his administration’s war on drugs, as well as the United Nations.

“Given that Mr. Duterte has made his reputation as a man who loves to talk tough, perhaps he likes being called a ‘strongman’ a bit more than he’s willing to admit. He’s spent more time talking about it than I have,” Bremmer said.

The American writer, who also happens to be an editor-at-large for TIME Magazine, included Duterte among the world’s “strongmen” leaders, alongside Russian President Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Duterte, however, denied he’s a strongman, saying he has never sent a critic to jail or acted like a despot.

Bremmer, however, said information from the “highly credible” Human Rights Watch showed Duterte has plunged the Philippines “into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s.”

“By enabling extrajudicial killings by police and encouraging vigilante justice in his country, Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has killed an estimated 12,000 people, including children, most of them poor people,” he said.

Bremmer also took note of how two of Duterte’s fiercest critics have fallen from grace. Senator Leila De Lima is detained over drug-related charges while Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has been ousted by the Supreme Court.