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Palace brushes aside Duterte's depiction as 'joker'

In this Jan. 11, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte relaxes while waiting to accept the credentials of new ambassadors at the study room of Malacañang. File
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Thursday shrugged off the depiction of President Duterte as a “joker” in playing cards produced by a group based in the United Kingdom.
UK-based group “Release” recently unveiled playing cards that featured what it called “hypocritical politicians.”
Duterte was labeled as the “Joker,” with his card containing the quote “(My doctor) said, 'Stop it. The first thing that you would lose is your cognitive ability... You are, you know, abusing (fentanyl).'"
The president made the remark in a business forum in Malacañang last December. During the event, Duterte revealed that he used fentanyl, a drug used by patients with cancer and other chronic ailments.
Asked to comment on the playing cards, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said: “Is there anything we can do about that? That was their decision, let it be. The president has always respected freedom of expression, so be it.”
“Let’s just say that worst things have said about the president. He takes it in stride,” he added.
Release, which provides free legal assistance to people facing drug-related charges, sells the cards for £5 or P336 set.
The group said the playing cards featured politicians who have admitted using drugs but “none of them got a criminal record because it is young, black, and poor people who are most actively targeted.”
Other politicians depicted in the cards were British politician Boris Johnson and former United States president George W. Bush.
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