Duterte launches attack on ABS-CBN, Inquirer

MANILA (Updated) -- President Rodrigo Duterte launched Thursday a scathing attack on two Manila-based media, saying their journalists are "shameless".

In a speech he delivered at Malacanang before newly-appointed government officials, the President called out news organizations The Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN for hiring "shameless" journalists.

"That's true. Inquirer is bulls***, as well as the ABS-CBN. You are garbage. Someone should tell you that. You are son of a b****," the Chief Executive said.

ABS-CBN is owned by the family of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Duterte has attacked the media plenty of times for his perceived alleged partial reports that aimed to "damage" his reputation.

The President renewed his attacks against media after Inquirer allegedly released a "spinned" report that his war on drugs is focused on the poor.

"Look at Inquirer. They are the ones saying that I am killing the poor. You know, the Inquirer [reported that] yesterday. That son of a b**** is bulls***. That's garbage," Duterte said.

Even last elections, [Inquirer wrote], 'The poor will be killed.' Look at how they slant [stories]," he added.

The President then shifted his focus on ABS-CBN over its published article discussing his supposed hidden wealth.

"And this ABS-CBN. Because if I have the money, son of the b****. I am here in the government now and you can request, son of a b****, there at Central Bank, tell them to get a statement," he said.

"If there is really P200 million in my account, I will resign tomorrow," an visibly irked Duterte said.

After airing his sentiments against the two news organizations, he told them, "Someday, karma will come. Those son of a b**** journalists [of Inquirer and ABS-CBN] are really shameless."

In a speech he delivered at the awarding rites of Go Negosyo's Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs, the President again slammed Inquirer and ABS-CBN, which he claimed are both "wealth seekers".

Duterte said he understands the "antagonistic" principle of journalists but they should not be biased on their reports.

"Journalism is always antagonistic. They are antagonistic. That's the rule. But don't overdo it. [Do not] slant [stories]. You're a full of s***," he said.

In an official statement, Inquirer's executive editor Jose Ma. Nolasco said the media company takes exception to Duterte's remarks that it has been unfair in its coverage of him and his administration.

"Since its founding in 1985, the Inquirer has upheld the highest standards of excellence in journalism. Even as we've courageously pursued the truth in our coverage, we've endeavored to get the administration's side of any controversy," said Nolasco.

Nolasco said Inquirer even allows Cabinet officials to expound on and explain administration policy through its weekly opinion column "View from the Palace."

It further said that its wide readership and the awards and citations received from various organizations here and abroad attests to its adherence to "accuracy, fairness and balance in its reporting."

In defense of Duterte, Malacañang clarified that the President blasted Inquirer and ABS-CBN because of supposed "unfairness" in reporting.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte is castigating not the media's role but the two media organization's apparent moves to depict the Chief Executive as "a caricature of a berserk strongman over a failed state."

"The President’s remarks on ABS-CBN Corporation and Philippine Daily Inquirer is a complaint against unfairness and are not attacks against Philippine journalism," Abella said in a statement.

"The President himself agreed with the adversarial role of media as check and balance against government abuses and venalities. However, it is unfortunate that these two media outfits tend to project the President as a caricature of a berserk strongman over a failed state," he added.

Abella said Duterte's remark is simply a call for all journalists to be "more fair and unbiased."

"The President's statement is a call for media to be more fair and unbiased; after all, nations succeed when all sectors maintain objectivity and fairness as they collaborate in nation building," the presidential spokesperson said. (SunStar Philippines)
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