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Palace responds to anti-Duterte ‘Patriotic Act’ comedy episode: Desperate and malicious!

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By Prince Golez

Malacanang expressed “outrage” Wednesday over the latest episode of Netflix’s “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” which painted a very ugly picture of the Philippine politics.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said host Minhaj criticized the war on illegal drugs, the legal persecution of dissenters like Senator Leila de Lima and journalist Maria Ressa, and President Duterte’s endorsements in the midterm elections.

“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,” said Andanar.

The secretary added that Minhaj “maliciously implied” that Duterte is an “autocrat” who “every so often goes on a killing spree.”

“He cited an exaggerated figure — 27,000, which is way higher than the official figure – to besmirch the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” according to him.

Andanar clarified that the data based on the government’s # RealNumbersPH showed only 5,050 drug personalities died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations between July 2016 and November 2018.

A total of 164,265 individuals were arrested during the same police operations, he noted, adding that some 303,533 former drug dependents have graduated from rehabilitation programs.

“For the information of Mr. Minhaj, 6 out of 10 Filipinos pointed out that the illegal drug users in their areas have decreased based on independent pollsters, attesting that the campaign is effective. Also, 7 out of 10 Filipinos mentioned that the Duterte Administration is serious in solving the killings in the country,” the official said.

The government, he added, is committed to eliminate poverty so all Filipinos can live comfortably. “The latest survey shows that hunger incidence among Filipino families decreased to 9.5 percent while adult joblessness dropped to 19.7 percent.”

Andanar likewise noted Minhaj’s praises on de Lima and Ressa for “standing up” against the President.

Their cases, according to him, 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,” he explained.

For finding fault with Duterte’s endorsement of senatorial candidates, Andanar reminded Minhaj the Philippines, like the United States, has a vibrant democracy where the will of the majority 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,” the former broadcaster said.

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