PRESIDENT-elect Rodrigo Duterte has dared journalists to boycott his news conferences and even warned to dig up dirt on them, saying he could have his own website done and use this to “attack” media people during his term as the Philippines’ chief executive.
“I will not stop,” he told reporters in a news conference held Thursday evening in Davao City in southern Philippines. “I can spend the whole six years of my presidency attacking you. … Just don’t f*** with me.”
Duterte, who is going to take his oath as the country’s 16th President on June 30 following a landslide victory in the May 9 elections, added, “I can have my own website and attack you. I can research about your children and your life.”
He was reacting to calls for him to apologize over his statement Tuesday justifying the murders of journalists who had used their profession to attack alleged unscrupulous politicians, businessmen and other known personalities in exchange for money.
Belittling calls for journalists not to cover his news conferences until he issues an apology, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who took the elections by storm on his anti-crime platform, said: “I don’t want publicity. You know that. … I don’t care if there’s no one covering me.”
Duterte said he owes no one an apology for citing the example of Juan Pala, Jr., the broadcast journalist who had endlessly criticized him on air and got killed in Davao City in 2003, and whose death has remained unsolved.
“No apologies,” he said adamantly. “Bullshit. I’m saying this without excuses, no apologies. You like to hear it, fine. So be it. That’s the truth.”
He also criticized the media practitioners for thinking too much of themselves and considering their profession as being of “purity,” although it is riddled with corruption.
“Do not ever think I am here to beautify a journalist,” he said. “That’s not my business.” CATHERINE S. VALENTE