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MANILA - Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella on Sunday slammed what he called the “irresponsible use of power” of a French newspaper that labelled President Rodrigo Duterte

a“serial killer” amid the rising death toll in his brutal war on drugs. “It’s irresponsible the way they have termed it and the way they have carelessly used this word and their media power to paint the Philippines in such a way,” Abella told radio DZMM.




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The Palace official noted that Duterte, despite his volatile rhetoric, has always underscored that all government initiatives must follow the rule of law, even in problems as “drastic” as the drug scourge which has grown into a multi-million-peso industry affecting over 40,000 barangays. 

“For the longest time kasi, hindi siya (drug) binigyang pansin, binigyang-tuon. Ngayon, napakalaki na so drastic measures have to be taken for drastic situations. But we appreciate the President, lagi niyang sinasabi, kahit very colorful ‘yung language niya, na in practice, everything has to be done with regularity,” he said.




[For the longest time, the drug problem was not given attention, emphasis. Now, it has grown so much so that drastic measures have to be taken for drastic situations.

 But we appreciate the President, he always says, despite his colorful language, that in practice, everything has to be done with regularity.]

 The Liberation, a newspaper in France, published Saturday a banner story about Duterte's anti-drugs campaign that has left over 3,000 people dead.



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Written by Arnaud Vaulerin, the four-page article also touched on Duterte’s expletive-laced tirades against US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, his comments referencing the mass murder of Jews under Adolf Hitler’s command and his alleged ties to a hit squad in Davao City.

 Abella, however, argued that the true state of the country is not reflected by foreign news reports, but by the public’s confidence in Duterte. “The best picture, the best mirror of what’s happening in the Philippines, is 'yung tao mismo, 'yung taumbayan na apektado [the public, the citizens who are affected].

 So far, ang nakikita nating response ng tao [the response that we see], they have a very high appreciation of what the President is doing,” he said. Duterte has earned a net satisfaction rating of +64 or "very good" despite the controversies marring his three months in office, according to a recent survey.



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