CORRUPT MEDIA.President-elect Rodrigo Duterte says most of the media who were killed in the country are corrupt. (Ace R. Morandante/

CORRUPT MEDIA.President-elect Rodrigo Duterte says most of the media who were killed in the country are corrupt. (Ace R. Morandante/

DAVAO CITY – Journalists are not taking easy the statement of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte on the continuing media killings.

In a press conference on Tuesday night, May 31, Duterte said most of the journalists who are killed are corrupt.

“Sa karamihan, prangka-prangka, may nagawa yan. Kasi hindi ka naman talaga papatayin dyan kung wala kang ginawa eh (Most of them, just to be frank, has done something. Because you will not be killed if you are not doing anything wrong),” Duterte said.

He said some journalists who were “already paid, but kept on attacking” would really be killed.

“You really want the truth, that is the truth. There is still corruption on your side,” Duterte told reporters.

“Do not expect that all journalists are clean,” he said.

Duterte also took a swipe at the freedom of expression saying it will not save a journalist who has done something wrong.

“The constitution cannot help you pag binaboy moa ng tao (The Constitution cannot help you if you wronged a man),” he said.

No joke

Could the President-elect be just joking? The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said he “did not seem joking in this instance.”

The group said they hope that Duterte’s statements will not be interpreted by those who would silence the media for whatever reason “as a license to kill journalists.”

“CMFR hopes that the President-elect’s statements are not interpreted by those who would silence journalists for whatever reason—whether they feel they have been abused by the media, or whether they have something to hide from the public—as a license to kill journalists,” it said in a statement Wednesday, June 1.

Other reasons why journos get killed

The group said that while corruption is a continuing problem in the press and media, journalists have been killed for other reasons.

“Among them for exposing corruption in government, as in the case of Tacurong City journalist Marlene Esperat, or for their advocacy in behalf of environmental protection, as in the case of Puerto Princesa’s Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega,” CMFR said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also cited the killing Edgar Damalerio of Pagadian City and the massacre that happened in Maguindanao province on November 23, 2009 where 32 of the 58 victims were media workers.

“We wonder if the President-elect is willing to face the orphans and widows of the victims of these killings and tell them, ‘They were killed because they were corrupt’,” said Ryan Rosauro, NUJP chairperson.

A 2006 CMFR study found that an overwhelming number of those killed since 1986 were exposing corruption and criminal syndicates in the communities.

CMFR has recorded that 152 journalists have been killed in the line of duty since 1986.

“Some have also been killed for exposing anomalies in local governments as well as for fighting criminality,” it added.

“This number is a stain on our claim as a democratic society and exposes our boast about press freedom in the country as a sham. Despite some of its practitioners’ admitted flaws, the killing of journalists cannot be dismissed simply as something that cannot be helped,” it said.

No justification

Meanwhile, the NUJP stands that “nothing justifies the murder of journalists”.

“It is appalling that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should justify the murder of journalists in the country by playing the corruption card,” Rosauro said.

Rosauro said: “it is one thing to recognize a possible reason for murder; it is a totally different thing to present this as a justification for taking life.”

Value press freedom: Duterte urged

The CMFR said the killing of journalists is “not something to be made light of.”

“A democratically elected president must value the free press as essential to the democratic system that has elected him,” the CMFR said.

“Rodrigo Duterte, freely elected by the people, whose campaign relied on the free press to report his candidacy owes the Philippine press more than just this glib response,” it said. (

comments powered by Disqus