Surrounded by journalists, writers and reporters, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday flatly stated that most of those who were killed in their ranks were either biased or corrupt.
Duterte was replying to a question from a journalist during a press conference in Davao City where he was asked what his administration’s policies were on media killings in the country, GMA News reported.
“Karamihan 'yan, alam mo 'yan nabigyan na, especially if you want to take sides, nabayaran mo na tapos you play. 'Yan ang karamihan ng namatay. Or tumatanggap na sa mga sugarol tapos bira pa rin,” he said.
Duterte further said that only those journalists who cross the line will definitely have it coming for them.
“Kaya namamatay, karamihan niyan nabayaran na. They take sides o sobrahan nila ang atake, getting personal. Hindi lahat ng tao [matatanggap yan]. Kaming mga pulitiko, okay iyan. Praktisado kami,” he said.
“Pero may mga tao, you go private, tapos iyong anak, babuyin mo [sa reports], papatayin ka talaga,” he added.
Duterte noted that no journalist would be killed if they remained truthful in their profession. “Kasi kung journalist ka na tama, wala namang gagalaw sa iyo, especially if it is true. I mean, you cannot hide the truth, by the way.”
Duterte also said that freedom of expression is not absolute and would not protect journalists from media killings if they overstep their boundaries as professionals.
“Iyong freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong to the guy. Do not believe it so much na you swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Alam mo na marami diyan, binabayaran, pati writers,” he said.
“Just because you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you are a son of a bitch… Freedom of expression won't save you. The Constitution cannot help you kapag binaboy mo ang isang tao,” he added.
For their part, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) told the Inquirer there was simply no justification to media killings.
“It is appalling that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should justify the murder of journalists in the country by playing the corruption card,” the NUJP said in a statement.
Since the campaign period, Duterte has been known to publicly issue controversial statements regarding his thoughts on killing, whether serious or in jest.
Photo credit: CNN Philippines