After two independent experts of the United Nation (UN), Cristof Heyns and David Kaye, criticized Duterte for allegedly stirring up violence against journalists and seemingly conveying it as "acceptable in certain circumstances and would not be punished", with words:
"A message of this nature amounts to incitement to violence and killing, in a nation already ranked as the second-deadliest country for journalists. These comments are irresponsible in the extreme, and unbecoming of any leader, let alone someone who is to assume the position of the leader of a country that calls itself democratic."
The President-elect replied through Salvador Panelo, the incoming presidential spokesman, that he never said that the killings of journalists involved in corruption is justified. Retelling his statement that they are killed for taking sides and obtaining bribes.
Duterte pressed on that he does not allow the murders of journalists, no matter what motive behind it, he vows to capture and prosecute the mastermind of the crime. "What I said is that you don't have to be a journalist to be the subject of an assassination."
"There are many cases where journalists are killed by reason of their advocacies but there are those who are killed because they take sides and accept bribes and renege on their commitments." And telling the UN experts to "go home and get some sleep. You are overworked and sound beat. Your statement is anchored on the wrong premise".
However, he emphasized that the "noble vocation" of journalism excludes extortionists and criminals. Stating, "my duty as President is to uphold and enforce the law and I will pursue and prosecute these killers to the hilt in accordance with law, and I will be - as I have been - protective of the rights of journalists, and for that matter of any citizen, of the Republic".
Though the issue didn't stop there when an international press group, Reporters Without Borders, urged the media to boycott Duterte. The President-elect Rodrigo fired back, commenting that UN could not even solve the disputes in war-torn countries, adding that he doesn't care about the treaty carried out by the UN.
As a number of media groups in the Philippines also started giving criticisms against the President-elect for using the corruption card. Duterte, who will take office in June 30, will not make an apology for his words and have committed to "boycott" the press "until the end" of his term.
Let's just hope that their relationship may be fixed and that the issue at hand will be solve for the sake of our country. So what do you think? Share your opinions below!