'Serial killer' brand on Duterte irresponsible - spokesman
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman defended him on Sunday after he was branded as a "serial killer president" and for allegedly being a "psychopath" amid his war on illegal drugs and tirades with the international community.
French newspaper "The Liberation" carried on its front page an article featuring the Philippine government's intensified campaign against illegal drugs with a headline branding Duterte as a "serial killer president."
"This is irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding and appreciation of the local situation," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a text message to reporters.
In a radio interview, Abella said "the best mirror of what's happening in the Philippines is the people themselves" who are affected.
But so far, he said most Filipinos were appreciative of the government's efforts to get rid of illegal drugs.
He also said that in a drastic situation, drastic measures have to be taken.
Based on the "double barrel" campaign of the Philippine National Police, the number of drug suspects who were killed in the operations since July 1 to October 9 rose to 1,546, while 27,438 were arrested from 28,749 drug operations that were conducted.
Abella also reacted on the supposed Facebook post by a Filipino actress and singer Agot Isidro and which drew positive and negative reactions from netizens.
Isidro said Duterte was "not a bipolar" but "a psychopath" because of his continued diatribes to the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, which raised concern on the increasing number of slain drug suspects in the government's war against illegal drugs.
"While she (Isidro) is entitled to her own opinion, it also reveals the kind of attitude that the President is addressing - dependency on foreign aid," Abella said.
He said the President wants the Filipinos to "gain true independence, economically, mentally and socially."
Duterte has dared US and and other international bodies to withdraw their aid to the Philippines, saying that Filipinos were not mendicants and they could survive even without their help.
But the EU and UN reportedly were not pulling out their aid to the Philippines.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace welcomes the steadfast commitment of EU and UN to the Philippines.
"Our partnership goes beyond differences in policies," he said.
Duterte has said the Philippines would follow an independent foreign policy, but he was willing to further open up commerce and trade with China and Russia. Celerina D. Monte/DMS