MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said the award naming President Rodrigo Duterte “Person of the Year” was incorrect, as the recognition was for doing the most to “advance organized crime and corruption.”
“Mali ho, mali ho ‘yung award na ‘yun,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday, December 30. “Hindi ho tama ‘yun.” (That’s wrong, that award was wrong. That wasn’t right).
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an international non-profit consortium of regional investigative centers and for-profit independent media, gives the annual title to an “individual who has done the most in the world to advance organized criminal activity and corruption.”
In a press statement released Friday, December 29, the OCCRP said President Duterte “empowered corruption in an innovative way” and “empowered a bully-run system of survival of the fiercest.” They said his influence made the country “more corrupt, more cruel, and less democratic.”
“Duterte has made a mockery of rule of law in his country,” said Drew Sullivan, editor for the OCCRP and one of the 9 judges who selected the Person of the Year for 2017 from nominations from journalists and the public.
The opposite is true, said Andanar, when he responded to questions from broadcaster Leo Palo of Radyo Pilipinas.
Andanar said the president had done all possible to fight organized crime, end illegal drugs, as well as drug trafficking and corruption.
The secretary enumerated what he considered recent achievements: the removal of former campaigners found involved in corruption, as well as those travelling overseas without permission from the executive branch.
The OCCRP described the Philippine president as "blunt, swaggering and profane," who "vigorously implemented his pledge to use any tactic necessary to stop drug use."
A global panel of 9 journalists, scholars and activists chose President Duterte "on the strength of his brutal war on drugs."
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, and the Romanian Parliament are among awardees from previous years. – Rappler.com