Adversaries Duterte, De Lima on TIME list of most influential people

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2017 08:48 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2017 09:19 PM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte and his top critic, detained Senator Leila de Lima, have both made TIME Magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world for 2017.

The list released on Thursday placed Duterte under the "Leaders" category, while De Lima was listed among "Icons." 

Earlier this week, the magazine announced that Duterte topped its readers' poll on who should be included on its list of "most influential" people for this year.

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.

The official TIME 100 list was chosen by the magazine's editors.

Duterte made international headlines with an anti-drug campaign that has seen thousands of drug suspects dead.

Early in his term, the sharp-tongued leader also announced a "separation" from the United States, the country's long-standing ally, while planning to realign the Philippines with China and Russia, America's perceived rivals.

Former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria wrote the article on Duterte, looking back on his presidency in Colombia and comparing it with Duterte's intensive anti-narcotics campaign. 

In February, Gaviria, who was behind Colombia's war against drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, had authored a New York Times opinion piece warning Duterte against his violent approach to end the drug scourge. 

Duterte responded by calling Gaviria a "idiot."

He reiterated such warning in his TIME article on Duterte.

"When I was President of Colombia, I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs. But after spending billions, I discovered that the war was unwinnable and the human costs were devastating. The cure was infinitely worse than the disease," Gaviria said.

Gaviria also advised Duterte to treat the drug problem as a public health issue instead.

"There are solutions that work. Duterte could start by treating drugs as a health, human rights and development issue. He could prosecute the most violent criminals and provide treatment for users rather than condemn them to prison, or worse," he said.

"There will always be drugs in the Philippines, whether the President likes it or not. The tragedy is that many more people are likely going to die as he learns this lesson," he added.

De Lima, a former justice chief on the other hand, has drawn global media coverage for standing as the face of dissent against Duterte, being one of his most vocal critics. 

She was arrested in February, ironically over non-bailable drug charges- accusations she has consistently denied and branded as "political persecution." She has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in her case. 

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Williams wrote the TIME piece on De Lima, describing her fierce opposition to Duterte's campaign. 

"It is a disturbing testament to the current solidarity among strongmen and the global surge in impunity that de Lima's cause has not been more embraced," Williams wrote of De Lima.

"And yet, even from prison, she continues to speak out against her President: 'It's not O.K. with me that we have a murderous psychopath occupying the highest post in the land.'," Williams added, in reference to De Lima's daily dispatches from her cell.

American politician Bernie Sanders won the readers' poll in 2016 while Russian President Vladimir Putin topped the survey in 2015.

The full list of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People could be accessed here.