Vice squad ‘Lawman’ and ‘The Punisher’ meets

MANILA: US actor Steven Seagal, famous for playing action roles like a vice squad detective in “Above the Law”, met Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte while on a location scouting trip in Manila.
Video footage released by government channel RTVM showed Seagal animatedly talking to Duterte.
Seagal, 65, was in the Philippines to look for a location for his upcoming movie which will be “about illegal drugs and other crimes”, a presidential palace statement said.
The statement said that Duterte told Seagal that “movies are a reflection of life” and “reiterated his strong stance against illegal drugs because it enslaves people to a form of synthetic chemical.”
Duterte has been involved in a deadly drug war since taking office last June, and on Wednesday ordered all drug operations be left to the drug enforcement agency, amid unprecedented scrutiny of police conduct in the brutal crackdown that has left thousands of Filipinos dead.
Earlier this week, Seagal said at a news conference in Manila that he didn’t think the Philippines was “a dangerous place”.
“It’s a place that’s up and coming with the new leadership,” the Philippine Star reported him as saying.
Duterte was nicknamed “The Punisher” due to his zero-tolerance of crime and drugs during the 22 years he was mayor of southern Davao City.
A former martial arts instructor, Seagal is famous for action hero roles in blockbuster movies in the 1990s, such as “Under Siege” and “Hard To Kill”.
He has also starred in a reality television series called “Steven Seagal: Lawman”, in which he carries out duties as a reserve deputy sheriff in Louisiana.
Still hugely popular
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte retained a high public approval rating in an opinion poll released on Friday, a stark contrast to a different survey earlier this week that showed a sharp decline in trust and satisfaction in the maverick leader.
Eighty per cent of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed by pollster Pulse Asia late last month said they trust and approve of Duterte slightly down from 81 per cent and 82 per cent respectively in its June survey.
“Approval” rates the president’s performance and “trust” relates to his personality in the Pulse survey, which did not ask respondents to give a reason.
A poll by Social Weather Stations conducted at the same time and released on Sunday showed trust and satisfaction in Duterte — also ratings of personality and performance — fell to the lowest of his presidency.
The falls by 15 points and 18 points respectively were significant, and came after a demonstration by thousands of Filipinos and unprecedented public scrutiny on his war on drugs, triggered by the August 16 killing by police of a teenager.
Thousands of Filipinos have been killed during the past 15 months.
Police insist none were executed, as activists have alleged.
Duterte this week ordered police to stand down from the campaign but has not said what motivated his decision.
His office said that was to shift focus towards bigger targets.
Analysts were unable to explain the big difference in the results of surveys by two well-respected pollsters.
Academic Edmund Tayao said the Pulse poll showed the public still recognised the importance of the war on drugs, and Duterte would stick to his policy agenda. “The president’s tone does not change, regardless of the numbers,” Tayao said. “Whether these surveys will result in major changes to his policy, I think not.”
Ranjit Rye of the University of the Philippines said the latest poll showed that, despite recent setbacks and adverse headlines, Duterte had not lost his appeal.
“Despite all the political noise, all the opposition against the president, he continues to be wildly popular and people approve of his leadership,” Rye said.
— Reuters