Malacañang isn’t pleased by a Time magazine article that seems to suggest that President Rodrigo Duterte was paying people to make him top its poll for the 100 Most Influential People.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Secretary Ernesto Abella, presidential spokesperson, cited a March 30 Time article, written by Mahita Gajanan,, that noted that Duterte was currently in firs place.
The article stated: “Duterte has been known to use social media to promote his agenda and has reportedly paid people to push him to popularity online.”
In reaction, Abella said: “Accusing him of using paid writers, they wantonly paint Mr Duterte as manipulating social media to boost his popularity in the online Time poll,”
The president is really popular, he said.
“They totally do not get that the common people actually support him and his drive to build an independent Filipino nation albeit still a rather socially conservative one,” he said.
The Time article, which called Duterte “the Punisher,” cited his “deadly approach to fighting drug use” and his broken promise of considering legalizing gay marriage in the Philippines.
Abella blamed the “radical liberal agenda” for this.
During the campaign, Duterte had indicated openness to same sex marriage, telling a TV talk show host that it was “good.”
But recently, he said that it could not be allowed in the Philippines because the Family Code defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. He added, however, that he was not condemning gays, saying they could do whatever would make them happy.
Abella also said there were those manipulating the media in a bid to return to power.
“In the meantime, certain members of the establishment continue to manipulate the media here and abroad to their advantage in the hope of regaining lost power and influence,” he said.
He did not elaborate.
As of posting time, Duterte remains to be om top of the 100 Most Influential People, followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, United States billionaire Bill Gates, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – all with three percent of votes.