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'Serial killer' tag on Duterte draws mixed reactions from senators.

While some of his colleagues decried it as 'unfair' and 'exaggerated,' Senate Majority Leader Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III described the 'serial killer' tag by a French paper on President Rodrigo Duterte as a case of 'bad English.'

'Hindi lahat ng Frances na dyaryo, marunong ng English. Mali ang English nila (Not all the newspapers in France know how to speak English. Their English is bad),' Sotto said in an interview at the Senate on Monday.

'Iba yun. Maraming serial killer sa Amerika, wala dito sa Pilipinas (It's different. There are many serial killers in America, there is none in the Philippines),' he said.

Senate President Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III said the 'serial killer' tag on the President was 'unfair' and had no basis.

'I think that's unfair because did they conduct any in-depth investigative work before they came up with their conclusion,' Pimentel said in a separate interview.

Asked about the bad press that the President has been getting from the foreign media, Pimentel said: 'That's beyond our control. I would not lose sleep over the coverage of the President with the foreign media.'

'Iba po ang kanilang standards doon. Iba ang kultura nila (They have different standards and culture). I don't know what the editor of that particular paper jump to a hasty conclusion na serial killer ang Presidente (that the President is a serial killer). What is his evidence?'

Senator Panfilo Lacson said the tag on Duterte was 'exaggerated,' saying the paper might have no direct or personal knowledge of what is happening in the Philippines.

'I think it's unfair to tag our president as a serial killer. Maski sinong Pilipino ke bumoto sa kanya ke hindi, hindi naman maganda pakinggan na inaakusahan na serial killer ang ating Pangulo, just because 3000 suspected drug pushers napapatay so far (To any Filipino, who may have or have not voted for him, it is not appropriate to accuse our President of being a serial killer just because 3000 suspected drug pushers have been killed so far),' Lacson said.

Senator Joseph Victor 'JV' Ejercito described the 'serial killer' tag as 'very sweeping' and 'judgmental.'

'Without President Duterte, the world wouldn't have discovered that the drug problem in the Philippines is this bad,' Ejercito said in a text message.

'Of course in his war against drugs, there would be casualties and collateral damage but that does not make the President a serial killer. The Philippines can be considered a narco state given the drug problem that was discovered. War against drugs has to be relentless,' he added.

To address this bad publicity in the international media, neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Malacanang's communication team should highlight the latest Social Weather Station survey, which showed that 84 percent of Filipinos agree with the government's war against drugs.

'This agreement [leads] to 76% approval rating of the President. The 84% is clearly a manifestation that the drugs problem in our country is real and the President is doing everything he can to eliminate that problem,' Gatchalian said.

But for Senator Leila de Lima, the international media were just doing their job, which is to report what they saw and heard-particularly citing the testimony of confessed assassin Edgar Matobato in the Senate.

Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, has accused Duterte of allegedly ordering the killings of criminal and enemies when he was still mayor of Davao City.

'The local media of foreign countries and the international press are not deaf and dumb. Precisely to report the news is their job, rather than fabricate it,' De Lima, one of Duterte's vocal critics, said in another text message.

'They saw and heard Edgar Matobato. They are just reporting his testimony. Matobato's testimony relates what can only be concluded as serial killings ordered by the President when he was mayor. In reporting this testimony, the French newspaper was only being observant when it concluded that the mastermind of serial killings necessarily is a serial killer,' she added.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 10, 2016
Words:796
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