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Palace disputes sarcastic ‘person of the year’ award for Duterte

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Palace disputes sarcastic âperson of the yearâ award for Duterte

OCCRP said President Rodrigo Duterte was chosen as person of the year by a global panel of nine corruption-fighting journalists, scholars and activists on the strength of his brutal war on drugs. File 

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has been named 2017 “Person of the Year” by an international non-profit organization not for flattering reasons but for his supposedly doing the most in the world in advancing organized criminal activity and corruption last year, citing in particular the bloody war on drugs. 

But Malacañang was quick to dispute the “citation” from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a consortium of investigative centers, media and journalists operating in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Central America. The Palace said Duterte was working to stop crime and corruption in the country.

Drew Sullivan, editor for the OCCRP and one of the nine judges who made the selection from nominations submitted by journalists and the public, said Duterte “has made a mockery of rule of law in his country.”

Sullivan also accused Duterte of “empowering corruption in an innovative way.”

“His death squads have allegedly focused on criminals but, in fact, are less discriminating. He has empowered a bully-run system of survival of the fiercest,” he said, adding the Philippines became “more corrupt, more cruel and less democratic” under Duterte. 

OCCRP said Duterte beat out African strongmen President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for the title. 

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said OCCRP was wrong in giving the title to Duterte because the Philippine leader does not tolerate illegal drugs and corruption.  

“It was the opposite because our President did everything to fight organized crime, to curb drug trafficking here in our country and to stop the transshipment of drugs,” Andanar told state-run radio station dzRB last Saturday. 

“At the same time, our President is fighting corruption. He has dismissed many people including those who helped him in the campaign. He also fired officials in government recently because of excessive foreign trips,” Andanar said.        

OCCRP said Duterte was chosen as person of the year by a global panel of nine corruption-fighting journalists, scholars and activists on the strength of his brutal war on drugs.   

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