Panelo to media: Your fault again
Blame it on the media, again.
The incoming Malacañang spokesperson, lawyer Salvador Panelo, on Saturday issued a statement saying that the “wrong perception” by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed endorsement of extrajudicial killings was based on “incorrect news reports.”
Panelo insisted Duterte did not support summary executions after Ban assailed him for his “apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings.”
Panelo said it was “unfortunate” the UN chief had to issue the strongly worded statement, the first by any world leader since the Davao City mayor’s landslide victory on May 9.
“Obviously, the UN secretary general believed the incorrect news reports that gave rise to such wrong perception,” Panelo said.
“The President-elect has not endorsed, cannot and will never endorse extrajudicial killings they being contrary to law,” he added.
On Wednesday, Ban issued a statement saying that Duterte’s remarks on summary killings were “of particular concern in the light of ongoing impunity for serious cases of violence against journalists in the Philippines.”
“I am extremely disturbed by recent remarks by the President-elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Ban said.
Duterte had said during a late-night press conference in Davao City that most journalists killed in the Philippines were corrupt.
“Most of those killed, to be frank, had done something. You won’t be killed if you didn’t do anything wrong,” Duterte had said, adding that many journalists in the Philippines were corrupt.
“If you are a journalist who is doing what is right, nobody will touch you, especially if [what you publish] is true. You cannot hide the truth,” he said.
“Most of those killed were paid to take sides or they got paid but they failed [to deliver]. Or they took money from gamblers but still hit them,” he said, adding: “You really want the truth? That’s the truth….”
Media groups in the country loudly protested Duterte’s sweeping remarks, saying they were tantamount to encouraging extrajudicial killings. Many journalists have been killed in the line of duty, many while exposing government corruption and political warlordism.
Duterte has long attracted local and international controversy for his apparent defense of what was known as the Davao Death Squad, a shadowy group of vigilantes responsible for the deaths of dozens of suspected criminals in Davao City, including minors.
Recently, he urged private citizens to go ahead and kill drug pushers in their neighborhoods, if they had guns. He offered cash bounties for drug dealers—dead or alive.
Despite Duterte’s public remarks, Panelo said the bill of rights as stipulated in the Constitution “shall be in full bloom” under the Duterte administration.
He said the incoming President did not tolerate the “killing of journalists nor any citizen for that matter regardless of its purpose.”
“As President, he is bound by his constitutional duty to enforce the law and under no circumstances will he deviate from it,” Panelo said.
The spokesperson said Duterte merely “chastised media persons who practiced irresponsible journalism.”
“The President-elect reiterates his fealty to the Constitution as well as his determination to suppress criminality in any form,” Panelo said. With a report from Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.