Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson likened presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo to two controversial mouthpieces in history.
In a tweet, the senator wrote that Panelo, late German propagandist Paul Joseph Goebbels and former Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf share certain characteristics that make them different from their contemporaries.
Different times. Different places. They share one unique, magical talent that sets them apart from other spokespersons —
Paul Joseph Goebbels;
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf;
Salvador San Buenaventura Panelo.
— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) July 2, 2019
Panelo as spokesperson
Panelo is the third spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been served by now-Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella and lawyer Harry Roque in his term as head of state.
Before he was appointed as Duterte’s speaker, Panelo earned a reputation for representing controversial personalities as their legal counsel.
Some of his clients include former plunder accused Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Martial Law period matriarch Imelda Marcos and former Datu Unsay mayor and mass murder suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr.
Prior to his appointment as official spokesperson, Panelo already gained buzz for spewing controversial remarks on sensitive topics like extrajudicial killings, martial law and rape jokes.
As Duterte’s mouthpiece, he has been accused by Lacson of acting as China’s “defense counsel” in matters relating to the West Philippine Sea, particularly when it comes to upholding the country’s entitlements.
Panelo was also criticized for his strong reactions against a satirical meme that featured him endorsing opposition candidates in the senatorial race.
He was additionally responsible for showing an unverified matrix to the public that listed alleged personalities involved in a supposed ouster plot against the president.
Who were Goebbels and Al-Sahhaf?
Nazi Germany propagandist
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a master orator and German propagandist responsible for portraying the Nazi regime—most especially war criminal Adolf Hitler—in a favorable light to the public.
The dictator appointed him to become Germany’s minister for public enlightenment and propaganda, where Goebbels was tasked to censor all forms of criticism and opposition toward Hitler.
He also portrayed the dictator as a strong and stable leader supposedly needed by Germany to become a great nation, particularly during the early years of the Nazi regime and following the country’s devastating loss in World War I.
Goebbels was described by researchers as one of Hitler’s closest associates and “most devout followers.”
The spokesperson was known for his zealous orations and extreme anti-semitism that helped foment bigotry, racism and hatred which ultimately led to the death of millions of people.
Public face of Saddam Hussein’s regime
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf is a former Iraqi information minister who acted as spokesperson to dictator Saddam Hussein.
Dubbed as “Comical Ali” by foreign journalists because of his “deadpan insistence” in the belief that Iraq’s forces were defeating Americans despite the opposite, Al-Sahhaf gained notoriety for his colorful statements and contradictory reports.
He was tasked to give an “upbeat assessment of events at the same time the world’s media showed the noose tightening around Baghdad,” BCC News reports.
“His daily televised briefings caused amusement and confusion to journalists and audiences across the world because of his forthright and often skewed view of the conflict,” the report continued.
Al-Sahhaf disappeared from the public eye shortly after he announced that American forces were driven out of Baghdad despite television footage showing U.S. Marines closing in behind him. — Artwork by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos