By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday criticized an American comedian-host for “implying” in his Netflix show that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is an “autocrat” who “every so often goes on a killing spree.”

“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 (“Patriot Act”), aired on Netflix, to demonize the Chief Executive and his government in its episode entitled ‘Brazil, Corruption and the Rainforest’ before the global audience,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said in a statement on Tuesday night.

He added: “Mr. Hasan Minhaj, an American comedian and host, maliciously implied that President 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.”

Citing Real Numbers PHL data, Mr. Andanar said there were about “5,050 drug personalities who died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018.”

He said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has also reported that “a large number of deaths were done by the hands of vigilantes due to the rivalry between drug gangs.”

“There were also 164,265 individuals arrested during the same police operations,” Mr. Andanar also said. “Since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assumed (office), there are about 303,533 individuals who graduated from the (government’s) rehabilitation programs.”

“We express outrage that such erroneous narratives, obviously peddled by anti-Duterte haters and trolls, would find their way to the gullible TV host and his comedy show and unwittingly parrot these falsehoods to an audience unaware of the real score in the Philippines.”

The official Mr. Andanar said preliminary results of the midterm elections “affirmed that the public indeed heeded the President’s call” and “continues to believe in the genuine reforms advocated by the candidates” of Mr. Duterte.

“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….Also, 7 out of 10 Filipinos mentioned that the Duterte Administration is serious in solving the killings in the country.”

Mr. Andanar likewise noted that Mr. Minhaj “heaped praises” on Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria A. Ressa and detained opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima for “standing up” against Mr. Duterte.

“Their cases 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,” Mr. Andanar said.