President Rodrigo Duterte topped Time magazine’s poll on the world’s most influential people, a feat that the Palace attributed to his agenda of helping the poor.
Duterte got five percent of the votes, beating Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Pope Francis for the top spot.
Trudeau, the Pope, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg each got three percent of the votes.
The online poll started in March and ended on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Duterte has the adulation of the people here and abroad because the President acts for the common good.
“What makes President Duterte so admired by Filipinos and international leaders alike is his national agenda. He has prioritized public interest first and foremost, especially the needs and aspirations of the poor and common people,” Abella said.
The President, Abella noted, has a simple three-point agenda: Prosperity for all, restoring trust in government and building a fair and equitable society.
“With or without the distinction, the President continues to be a hardworking government worker and faithful servant of the Filipino people,” Abella said.
Weeks into his presidency, Duterte drew flak for cursing former US President Barack Obama, the European Union, the United Nations, and local and international human rights groups. He was also strongly criticized for the bloody war on drugs that left thousands dead.
US Senator Bernie Sanders won the Time reader poll on the world’s most influential people in 2016, while Russian President Vladimir Putin bagged the award in 2015.
The final call on the Time magazine’s most influential people in the world list, however, rests on the Time magazine’s editors and will be announced on April 20.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said it is not surprising that Duterte should make waves here and abroad. “There is really a genuine support of the masses, he’s a different breed,” Piñol said.