American comedian Hasan Minhaj made witty reactions to reports about the Palace’s accusations of him working for the opposition due to his commentaries in a Netflix show that featured the Philippines.
Minhaj made satirical remarks against the midterm elections in the episode of “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” on Netflix which aired on May 12.
The statement of Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) denouncing Minhaj’s televised act appeared in the headlines of several local media outfits.
Minhaj first retweeted an article from Yahoo Philippines and said: “Renaming the show “Erroneous Narratives Peddled by Haters and Trolls with Hasan Minhaj.”
Renaming the show "Erroneous Narratives Peddled by Haters and Trolls with Hasan Minhaj." https://t.co/U7kZbGyxrd
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) May 15, 2019
The next day, he shared a screenshot of a newspaper with an article about Palace’s criticism against him.
He retorted: “Guess, I won’t be able to visit the Palace.”
For Andanar, the episode from an American TV show is the work of President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics.
“We find it desperate that, on the eve of the Philippine midterm elections, the vociferous detractors of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would use an American comedy show, aired on Netflix, to demonize the Chief Executive and his government in its episode entitled “Brazil, Corruption and the Rainforest” before the global audience,” Andanar said.
He also called Minhaj gullible for easily believing the “erroneous narratives” of the opposition and sharing them to his audience whose “unaware of the real score in the Philippines.”
Minhaj is a popular Indian-American political satirist who was once part of a long-running award-winning comedy show “The Daily Show.”
In 2018, Minhaj became the host of his own program which was awarded with the prestigious Peabody Awards.
The communications chief also cited several surveys to discredit the information Minhaj said in the program.
Andanar said that majority of Filipinos observed a decrease in the number of illegal drug users in their areas and 7 out of 10 perceived the administration is serious in solving the killings.
The Social Weather Station survey in 2018 did reveal 78% of adult Filipinos are satisfied with the campaign against illegal drugs.
However, a wider majority of 96% are not in favor of the method of killing drug suspects, leading to the deaths of thousands of urban poor.
Moreover, Andanar also got ticked off with Minhaj defending Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and Senator Leila de Lima while criticizing Duterte-backed candidates such as Imee Marcos and Bato dela Rosa.
“The Philippines, like the USA, is a country where democracy is vibrant and the will of the people reigns supreme. Ultimately, it is the Filipino people who will choose their own set of leaders and we simply have to respect the results of the elections,” Andanar said.
Minhaj compared the similarities between the society of India and the Philippines for a few minutes in the episode.
He poked fun at how Filipino politicians compete against one another in actual sports events.
“Their politicians literally play basketball against each other,” he said.
He then took a jab at Duterte’s controversial remarks, the 27,000 victims of extrajudicial killings since 2016 and the type of candidates he endorses.