Andanar: Bribery claim not meant to say Senate reporters are corrupt
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday said his claim that as much as $1,000 was given to journalists who covered the press conference of confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) leader Arturo Lascañas was not intended to taint the credibility of Senate reporters.
In a press briefing, Andanar noted that he did not allude to any reporter in his interview with CNN Philippines, where he made the accusation.
“Kung tayo po ay tutungo sa official transcript, wala po akong ina-allude na reporter na tumanggap ng ganitong pera (I believe the transcript will bear out that while a monetary offer may have been made to attract coverage of the press conference, no member of our working press was alluded to as recipient),” Andanar said.
“I was just pointing to the fact na may concerted effort to have a massive protest sa Edsa this Feb. 25,” he added.
Andanar, who was a former news anchor and commentator, said he held Senate reporters are “good reporters and they stuck with their credibility.”
“It was not intended to say that Senate reporters are corrupt. Kilala ko ang mga reporters doon (I know the reporters there), I hold them in high esteem,” he said.
In a statement, Senate reporters denied Andanar’s allegations and demanded a public apology for making such a baseless claim.
“We would like to ask the Secretary to prove his allegations as such statements placed our credibility and our respective media entities under a cloud of doubt. Otherwise, we demand a public apology from Secretary Andanar for spreading ‘fake news,’ truly unbecoming of someone who, just a few months ago, came from the media industry,” they said.
Lascañas, a retired Davao City policeman, resurfaced in the Senate on Monday and retracted his previous testimony on the infamous DDS. He backed the earlier testimony of another confessed DDS member Edgar Matobato and tagged President Rodrigo Duterte in vigilante killings in the city, including the death of Davao journalist Jun Pala in 2003. CDG
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