MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said it respects the American-based news publication The New York Times’ (NYT) right to opinion but expressed strong opposition to its April 25 opinion piece titled “Let the World Condemn Duterte.”
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been the subject of the international newspaper over his deadly campaign on illegal drugs.
“We recognize the New York Times’ right to opinion. However, we have a clear disagreement with the newspaper’s April 25 editorial, ‘Let the World Condemn Duterte,’ which was based on a complaint filed by a lawyer of a self-confessed assassin,” he said in a statement.
The NYT took a swipe at Duterte anew, after a complaint has been filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing him of committing mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of drug personalities.
The camp of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato filed a 77-page complaint, attributing the deaths of about 9,400 individuals to Duterte during his stint as Davao City mayor and as the country’s highest elected official.
In an editorial piece published Tuesday, NYT stressed that it was not the first time Duterte had been linked to mass killings, citing that several groups like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and some Filipino politicians have castigated the President.
“There is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would shake an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” the New York Times said.
“This is a man who must be stopped,” it added.
Abella reiterated that Duterte, who won a landslide victory at the 2016 presidential derby, was merely committed to ending the proliferation of illegal drugs and criminality in the country, which “plagued our nation for decades.”
Abella said that illegal drugs “are killing people in our country and around the world,” thus prompting the Chief Executive to “[stop] this cancer on our nation and [build] a better life for all Filipinos. (SunStar Philippines)