MANILA - Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, a strong supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he was no longer surprised by the chief executive's landing on the top spot of TIME Magazine's “most influential” poll for 2017.
"What else is new? Talaga namang genuine naman yung suporta ng masa sa kanya eh. He's a different breed. Like him, hate him. Ibang-klase itong mamang ito. And he's making waves internationally. That could be the reason why," Piñol told reporters.
Duterte got 5 percent of the total "yes" votes, ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who each got 3 percent, TIME said.
Piñol, however, quickly dismissed a question about a possible manipulation of the survey result.
The agriculture secretary, a former journalist, said this was not possible since Duterte's handlers in Malacañang has "weak" media operations.
"Ako personally, tingin ko mahina nga yung handling nung media operations ng Malacañang. Naiiwan sila sa pag-release ng istorya," he said.
"The basis of that statement is the fact that they cannot even organize very well the media operations of Malacañang. How much more a contest or popularity contest that has nothing to do with governance in the Philippines.”
Piñol said, he has already discussed his observation with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and even to Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office.
Many of the president's good projects and out-of-town visits do not land in the media because of the slow operations of the chief executive's own public relations team, according to Piñol.
The slow releasing of news stories by the president's media team, Piñol said, has always resulted in the need for Malacañang to "deny and correct" what was released by private news organizations.