As expected, TIME Magazine included Rodrigo Duterte in its 2017 List of 100 Most Influential Persons in the World. It would have been a riot if it didn’t after the popular Philippine president won the online poll it conducted among its readers.
But they also included another Filipino in their list: the “very influential” Senator Leila de Lima.
The editors of TIME must have helped themselves to shots of vodka during their planning and deliberations because they seem to have been “under the influence.”
In a previous post, Politikal Pinoy asked the question, Will TIME be fair and accurate when profiling Duterte when they announce their choice of 100. We knew what the answer would be, but we asked it anyway.
So now that the cat is out of the bag, we indeed are subjected to the purely negative profiling of Duterte, once again (as it did on its online poll), focusing on the president’s war on drugs and alleged extra-judicial killings, repeating the tired and debunked rhetoric of Mr. Duterte referencing Hitler and the massacre of 3 million Jews.
And of course, the TIME editors had to pick yet another controversial figure to do the profiling: ex-Colombian President César Gaviria who the world knows launched his own war on drugs in his country — and failed miserably.
By choosing to use Gaviria’s words, TIME perpetuates the stereotype that all wars are the same, that all leaders are the same and that the failure of one is the failure of all. Well, time will tell (pun intended) whether Duterte’s war on drugs will result in the same failure as Gaviria’s. So far, if only TIME did its homework, it’s been a phenomenal success achieved in less than a year into Duterte’s administration.
Then there’s the choice of Leila de Lima which TIME editors anointed as an “icon.” We ask, icon of what?
Notice that even in the de Lima’s profile, Samantha Power focused on Duterte and his anti-drug campaign. Perhaps TIME couldn’t find better words to justify its choice for this influential spot on its list.
Politikal Pinoy asks: what influence exactly is TIME referring to when it comes to de Lima? Her influence as former Justice Secretary, during which the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (National Penitentiary), flourished unabated? Or is it her influence in allegedly extracting campaign funds from drug lords which led to the filing of charges and her subsequent incarceration?
Again, only time will tell whether de Lima deserved to be on TIME’s list. The world awaits the judicial proceedings in her case.