PARIS - "Serial killer President."
This was how "The Liberation," a leading newspaper in France, headlined its four-page story about President Duterte, whose first 100 days in office has been marked with the death of over 3,000 drug suspects.
Written by Arnaud Vaulerin, the article described how Duterte, the long-time mayor of Davao City, rid his turf of rebels allegedly with the help of the purported Davao Death Squad formed under his watch.
Vaulerin's sources, whose names were withheld for their safety, also narrated how Duterte was called the "Little King of the Poor" by his supporters.
Also superimposed in red and bold were the President's series of expletives against Pope Francis and US President Barack Obama, as well as his controversial remark citing Adolf Hitler and the Jewish Holocaust in his war on drugs.
Vaulerin and his article has drawn a deluge of criticism from Duterte's supporters.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, some Filipinos based in France insisted that branding Duterte as a serial murderer is wrong.
"Unang-una, ito ang nagpa-stress sa akin eh. Hindi maganda sa akin, na naka-front page siya na serial killer siya... Masakit para sa akin bilang die-hard supporter ni Duterte na serial killer ang ating Presidente," said overseas Filipino worker, Henie Caludtiag.
[First and foremost, I found this stressful. I don't find it good that he is on the front page being labelled as a 'serial killer.' It's offensive for a die-hard supporter like me that our President be called as such]
Analiza Gagalac, another Pinoy expatriate, quipped: "Tanong d'yan, na-justify ba nila na siya ay [The question is, were they able to justify that he's a] serial killer?"
Several Filipino associations in Paris plan to stage demonstrations to condemn the newspaper and its journalist.
Before this, Duterte's anti-narcotics crackdown also caught the attention of several other international media outfits, like the New York Times and Thailand's The Nation.
The President, for his part, has slammed international and local "spin doctors for showing him in the worst light possible. He has also lambasted foreign bodies criticizing his drug war, saying that Manila "will survive" even without aid from its allies.