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MANILA, Philippines – He was without a new episode for about 2 months but on Sunday, May 12 stand-up comedian Hasan Minhaj returned for an all-new episode that’s bound to elicit both cheers and jeers from this side of the world.
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which streams on Netflix, debuted on May 12 its third season with the episode “Brazil, Corruption, and the Rainforest.” But it’s the second segment that we’re focusing on because, of course, it’s about the 2019 midterm elections, which happens on Monday, May 13.
“Normally midterms act as a check on the president. But there’s nothing normal about President Rodrigo Duterte,” said Hasan, before he plays a clip of one of Duterte’s many speeches wherein he threatens to kill drug lords, the corrupt, and alleged insurgents.
“The last 3 years, Duterte has presided over a brutal drug war…and let’s just say that his tactics are pretty extreme,” added Hasan, before he plays a clip of Duterte rather explicitly promising death upon drug lords and drug pushers.
“Oh my god he beheads drug dealers like a Looney Tunes ISIS video?” asked a bemused Hasan, reacting to a video of Duterte dragging his finger across his neck to illustrate how he’d treat drug personalities.
It’s then that Hasan turns serious, breaking down the death toll of the drug war and popular support in the Philippines despite the supposed deaths and human rights violations in the name of the so-called “drug war.”
It’s with this context that Hasan begins discussing the 2019 elections. With 12 Senate seats up for grabs, the comic points out that leading candidates include Duterte allies with, err, interesting reputations.
He singled out the late dictator’s daughter Imee Marcos (“Just a politician with literal skeletons in her closet,” he said, after mentioning the case of Archimedes Trajano), Duterte aide Bong Go, and former national police chief Ronald dela Rosa.
No Netflix account? Luckily, the segment about the Philippines was uploaded online:
“These are the candidates expected to gain power tomorrow. Which would mean voters are cosigning Duterte’s bloody drug war until 2022. And this bloody crackdown isn’t only brutal, it’s ineffective,” added Hasan, citing a 2017 Reuters report which said shabu access had increased while prices had gone down despite the campaign against illegal drugs.
Hasan ended the segment by citing two personalities who he said have been standing up against Duterte: Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa, who faces a variety of court cases, and detained Senator Leila de Lima.
This is not the first time for the President to be in the spotlight before an election. Back in 2016, comedian John Oliver criticized Duterte, then a presidential candidate.
Hasan is known for his biting political commentary and humor. He was senior correspondent for The Daily Show before getting his solo show on Netflix. – Rappler.com