The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte, De Lima included in TIME’s “100 Most Influential People”

April 21, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte and his staunch critic, Senator Leila de Lima, were the two Filipinos in TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People." Malacanang expressed dismay over the article that the TIME wrote regarding De Lima, who is in jail. De Lima was allegedly involved in the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice during the previous administration. But she denied the allegation. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella criticized TIME for "conveniently failed to clarify that she (De Lima) 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." Duterte's name was included under the "Leaders" category of most influential persons, while De Lima was under "Icons." Former Columbian President Cesar Gaviria wrote the article about Duterte, citing the latter's war on drugs. "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," said Gaviria, who previously criticized Duterte's method in implementing his campaign against the illicit drugs. He admitted when he was president of Columbia, he also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs. But after spending billions, he said he discovered the war was "unwinnable and the human costs were devastating. The cure was infinitely worse than the disease." He said Duterte could start by treating drugs as a health, human rights and development issue. "He could prosecute the most violent criminals and provide treatment for users rather than condemn them to prison, or worse. 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. Samantha Power, who wrote the article for De Lima, described the Filipino senator as Duterte's "most vocal critic-a role her friends call suicidal." She recalled how De Lima convened a hearing on Duterte's drug-war killings until Duterte's allies stripped her of her Senate justice committee chair up to the point that she was arrested and jailed in February. "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. And yet, even from prison, she continues to speak out against her President," said Power, a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. As to Duterte's inclusion in the TIME's most influential leaders, Abella said, "the fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal drugs, crime and corruption." Celerina Monte/DMS