The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines did not take kindly to President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that he likes joking around and playing pranks on the media.
President Duterte said during a recent interview, “Nilalaro ko kayo. Mahilig talaga ako sa ganoon. Alam ng team ninyo. Mahilig talaga ako magbitaw ng kalokohan.”
The NUJP criticized the president for his foolhardy behavior. They believe that, as the government's highest official, it is his duty to be clear about his public statements.
Duterte's supporters claim that the media is biased for always taking his words negatively, even accusing journalists of misinterpretation. However, it is important to note that President Duterte has contradicted himself numerous times and the media are merely relaying his statements to the public verbatim.
“May mga pagkakataon naman po para sa biro o sa kalokohan. Subalit dahil kayo ang Pangulo, ang inyong mga pahayag sa publiko ay aming itinuturing—at dapat lamang ituring—na patakaran ng inyong pamahalaan,” the NUJP said.
“Dagdag pa, marami rin sa inyong masusugid na tagasuporta ang nagtuturing ding atas at utos maging ang inyong mga biro at gamitin ang mga ito bilang dahilan para sa mga karumaldumal na hangarin ng mga kriminal at tiwali sa loob at labas ng gobyerno,” the group added.
The president has repeatedly been recorded proclaiming brash and expletive-filled statements, such as calling US President Obama a “son-of-a whore” and bragging about going on a killing spree while he was still the mayor of Davao City.
“Sa ganitong kalagayan, aming kagalang-galang na ginoo, hindi kaya mainam na huwag mo na kaming laruin at bawasan na ang hilig ninyong magbitiw ng kalokohan?” NUJP said.
The group firmly stands by their responsibility to report the truth and they expect the president to cooperate with that by fixing his attitude regarding his public pronouncements.
“Seryoso po kami sa aming gawain at tungkulin naming ituring na seryoso at iulat [nang] tapat ang anumang namumutawi sa bibig ng Pangulo,” they said.
“Huwag po ninyong baliktarin ang kaayusan ng pananagutang maging malinaw, Mr. President.” They added.
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