MALACAÑANG slammed Time magazine on Friday for its failure to highlight the supposed drug connection of detained Senator Leila de Lima, who has been included in its list of 100 most influential people in 2017.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that De Lima was detained not because of political persecution but because of her involvement in illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary.
Abella made the statement, as Time has become critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's inclusion in the list of most influential people worldwide while it was all praises for De Lima.
"The fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal hard drugs, crime and corruption," Abella said.
"In the case of Senator De Lima, Time conveniently failed to clarify that she was jailed not for her criticisms against the administration but because an independent court found probable cause in support of the criminal charges against her for alleged violation of the law on illegal drugs," he added.
Duterte, who took the lead in the publication' online poll for most influential people, was listed in the "leaders" category. His staunch critic, De Lima, was among the "icons."
Duterte, in a brief profile written by former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, was described as leader with "ill" approach.
"His (Duterte's) ironfisted strategy alarms governments, human rights organizations and faith-based groups while winning high approval ratings at home," Gaviria said.
De Lima, on the other hand, was praised for being unfazed by her "suicidal" role as Duterte's "most vocal critic," even after she has been put to jail under his watch.
"Most opposition politicians have kept their heads down, knowing Duterte is both terrifyingly brutal and massively popular," a description for De Lima, written by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, read.
"And yet, even from prison, she (De Lima) continues to speak out against her President," it added.
Duterte and De Lima have gripe toward each other even before the former assumed the presidency.
The rift stemmed from De Lima's insistence that Duterte was the leader of vigilante group Davao Death Squad, which was allegedly responsible for the killings when he was mayor of Davao City.
When Duterte became president, he revealed that De Lima allowed the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the national penitentiary during her stint at Justice secretary under the Aquino administration. (SunStar Philippines)