Duterte and De Lima listed on Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People’

Writer: 
by Alexander T. Magno

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila de Lima, the most vocal critic of his war on drugs, have been included in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Time Magazine has included two Filipino politicians on its annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People” – President Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloody war on drugs has been making headlines here and abroad, and Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been among Duterte’s most vocal and persistent critics.

The list, which Time first put out in 1999, consists of five categories Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans, and Icons.

Duterte is listed under Leaders, along with, among others, President Donald Trump of the United States, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and President Xi Jinping of China – all leaders that the Philippine president has spoken highly of and with whom he has established some rapport.

De Lima is listed under Icons, along with, among others, Canadian author and environmentalist Margaret Atwood, who won several awards, including the Booker Prize; American actress Viola Davis, the only black actress to have been nominated in three Academy Awards (where she won one); and American actor and drag queen RuPaul, whose reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” won an Emmy Award in 2016.

‘Ill -considered’

The piece on Duterte at the Time website was written by Cesar Gaviria, former president of Colombia.

Gaviria starts off his piece by quoting Duterte, who said in one of his speeches: “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there are 3 million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

Gaviria then follow this with his own assessment: “His approach is as ill-considered as his grasp of history (more than half of Hitler’s 11 million victims were Jewish).”

Gaviria also had an opinion piece published last Feb. 7 in the New York Times titled “President Duterte is repeating my mistakes,” which the Philippine Daily Inquirer and INQUIRER.net also published.

The former Colombian leader admitted that he “was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs.”

“Since Duterte’s inauguration last year,” Gaviria added, “some 7,000 people have been killed” and “his ironfisted strategy alarms governments, human-rights organizations and faith-based groups while winning high approval ratings at home.”

In explaining how his tough stance on drugs failed, Gaviria said: “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.”

He urged Duterte to forget his bloody strategy and “start by treating drugs as a health, human rights and development issue.”

‘Suicidal’

The piece on De Lima was written by Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the United Nations.

Power begins her piece by saying: “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.”

Then in the next paragraph, she adds: “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 is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center on drug charges filed at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC). She has filed petitions at the Supreme Court seeking to dismiss the charges against her, saying that the RTC had no jurisdiction over her.

Meanwhile, she has regularly issued “dispatches” from her detention cell commenting on various issues – including the extrajudicial killings, which she has linked to Duterte’s war on drugs.