MANILA, Philippines – Amid calls for the cancellation of the first Philippine series to stream on Netflix, the entertainment giant said it is ultimately up to viewers to "decide on what, where and when they want to watch."
Amo is directed by acclaimed Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, a supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. Mendoza, who directed Duterte's first two State of the Nation Addresses, had earlier said that Amo would depict a "necessary" campaign against illegal drugs that has been criticized for allegedly curtailing human rights.
"Netflix offers a diverse choice for consumers to decide on what, where and when they want to watch," Netflix told Buzzfeed.
It added: "We understand that viewers may have opposing opinions but leave it to them to decide."
A mother, whose son was killed by unknown assailants after he was accused of peddling drugs, recently started a Change.org petition calling on Netflix to cancel the show.
The petition, which started before the series streamed on Netflix, cited Brillante's views on the "drug war" as a reason to pull out the series.
Amo is not Netflix's first foray into a fictionalized depiction of a campaign against illegal drugs.
Narcos, a Netflix original, tells the story of Colombia's bloody campaign against illegal drugs. Its first two seasons centered around drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, while the 3rd season centered around the Cali cartel.
Netflix has since been accused of glamorizing the Colombian drug war experience. No less than Cesar Gaviria, who was Colombian president when the campaign was being waged, has said that force won't solve the drug problem. Duterte has openly criticized Gaviria for those remarks.
The Philippines' own "drug war" began in 2016, shortly after Duterte took office. But police began crackdowns on suspected illegal drug users and pushers in communities even before Duterte was officially president.
While police insist that many of those killed in operations "fought back," this argument has been disputed. Philippine cops have been accused of resorting to extralegal means in the name of the anti-illegal drugs campaign. – Rappler.com