The government is crying foul over an upcoming episode of the hit American political drama “Madam Secretary” because of what it describes as the show’s “highly negative portrayal” of a fictional Philippine president.
In the trailer for the episode titled “Break in Diplomacy,” newly-elected Philippine president Datu Andrada (played by Joel dela Fuente) can be seen making unwanted sexual advances to the show’s protagonist, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, which is played by actress Tea Leoni. In retaliation, McCord threw a punch against Andrada – causing his nose to be bloodied.
“Elizabeth is shocked when the Philippines’ unconventional new President, Datu Andrada, makes a pass at her during their meeting to discuss his refusal to participate in an Asia-Pacific territory treaty,” according to a synopsis of the episode. Television giant CBS will air the said episode this March 12.
In a statement, our embassy in Washington D.C. denounced the episode for its “highly negative portrayal” of a Philippine president. “It not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also denigrates that way our nation navigates foreign affairs. It also tarnishes the Philippines’ longstanding advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality,” it said.
The government likewise called on CBS to “take the necessary corrective actions.” This can perhaps include deleting the scenes where the ‘Philippine president’ appears. For his part, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella slammed the program for being “confused with their images.”
“I think they are projecting something that they really would like to say about their own situation. Really, I think they should use a fictional US President,” Abella said during a press conference Tuesday morning.
He is likely referring to US President Donald Trump’s record of aggressive behavior towards women (a dozen or so women have accused him of sexual assault). A month before last November’s presidential elections, a video of him surfaced where he claimed that he can grab women he likes by their genitals because he’s a celebrity.
Duterte’s record with women isn’t exactly clean, though. He has long been vocal about his womanizing, and he can frequently be seen getting touchy-feely with female supporters during his campaign events. A few weeks before the elections here, a video of him surfaced where he can be heard joking about not being able to have sex with a slain Australian rape victim. Trump and Duterte both survived their respective leaked video scandals.
First aired in 2014, “Madam Secretary” is an award-winning political drama whose antagonist is said to be patterned after former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Also a former First Lady and Senator in New York, Clinton ran for President in 2008 and 2016 – losing narrowly on both times.