Duterte to Philippine Journalists: you are dead because you are guilty

Not yet taking an oath to the Office of the President, Duterte is talking uninhibitedly, hitting snag after snag, that he’d suffer so much injury by June 30.

Just last night, he hit on the already fledgling Philippine journalists. We all admit, besides the Catholic Church, our media has its share of corruption. But to say that “murdered journalists are corrupt,” that is a sweeping generalization.

What is appalling was the way Duterte spoke about the journalists when he was asked about his stand regarding the alarming numbers of murdered media men. If you are following their plight, I think the question is personal as it is professional. It’s like saying, am I safe in my job?

Duterte had some shocking answers, these are my transcriptions of the video-interview of Duterte. The youtube link is below the article.

“Hindi ka naman papatayin kung wala kang ginawa e…..tapos yung mga tumatanggap sa mga sugarol, binibira pa rin. You want the truth yun ang truth!”

He mentioned Jun Pala, and Duterte said, “I know who killed him, because binastos n’ya ang tao e.” When a journalist asked “Sino ang binastos?” Duterte evaded the question.

“Prangka, prangka, yan, kayo, karamihan ganun, kasi kung journalist ka na “tama” wala namang gagalaw sa ‘yo. Especially if it is true. You cannot hide the truth, by the way. ”

“…not all journalists are clean, kaya namamatay. Taking sides or nasosobrahan ang atake. Pero kaming mga pultiko, ok yan, praktisado kami, pero may mga tao, …private, tapos sirain mo, yung anak, babuyin mo, papatayin ka talaga…. Ganun yan!”

There are two noticeable themes in Duterte’s manner of answering.

First, he seems to know more than the journalists. “You want the truth yun ang truth!” or “Ganun yan!” This show of mentality is not an isolated incident. He exhibited it in the way he judged the Catholic bishops and priests – sweeping. He seems to know more about the Catholic Church than Catholics themselves. In the same vein, he knows more about journalists than journalists themselves.

Second, he always comes from a judgment. He already has a judgment on journalists, on priests and so basically anyone. Probably, a judgment on you too. Which he will impose, regardless of what you say.

I don’t think, we should expect a listening president from Mayor Duterte. He already has his own answers. The problem is, where is he getting his answers, if he is not listening to anyone?

You can watch the video-interview over and over again, and a lot of questions can come up. For example, Duterte was so angry at Mr. Jun Pala, a journalist-politician who was murdered in Davao in 2003. Duterte was fuming in recalling Mr. Pala and he even called him “rotten,” “son of a bitch.” Question: what was Mr. Pala’s sin that he deserved to die? Duterte can only mention two, he accused Mr. Pala of receiving bribes and second that he offended (may binastos) someone. When a lady journalist asked “Sino ang binastos?” Duterte did not dare answer. But he said he knew who killed Mr. Pala. Given this the crime remains unsolved. The accusation of bribery and offending someone is now punishable by death. But, many are now asking, was it Duterte who was offended by Mr. Pala?

The most glaring of all, during the interview is that Duterte again, has a very simplistic answer to a complex problem – murder of journalists. Primarily, he equated dead journalists to corrupt journalists. Literally, he was saying that those who killed the journalists are right in killing them? I don’t think it works that way. Most journalists who died, I presume, were the ones who boldly said the truth. Precisely, they offended someone because the told the truth. The truth hurts. It ought to hurt before it could set someone free. The problem is those who get offended got guns and goons. Now, given that we still have a lot of honest journalists, are you empowering them to give a brave, balanced report on any development, no matter how small, on Maguindanao Massacre, when you appointed the Ampatuan lawyer Atty. Salvador Panelo as your spokesman? Will any reporter, in their right mind, still pursue the case? Now, it is ok to kill journalists if they offend the rich and powerful.

In the end, it is not a question of journalism and truth, as you watch Duterte answer the journalists. In fact he was evading the truth himself. And the best way to evade is to give a simplistic answer. Duterte says, you are dead because you are guilty.

 

Rappler video, published May 31, 2016.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Duterte to Philippine Journalists: you are dead because you are guilty

  1. With that guy at the helm of government, my heart goes out to Filipinos.

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