THERE is no bad blood between the media and incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, who holds no grudge against any journalist and whose threat of boycott is only “temporary”, according to one of Duterte’s senior Cabinet officials.
Speaking on condition that he will not be identified, the incoming Cabinet secretary said Duterte’s penchant for making “preposterous” statements should not be taken literally.
“We now know his style. He talks tough and thinks tougher. He had said that people should not believe in everything that he says, especially the preposterous ones. If you would read between the lines and understand what he meant by boycotting the media until his term ends, he was talking about his term as mayor,” the incoming official told The Manila Times.
“We can all expect a lot of things to change by June 30, when he sheds the mayor persona and assume the role of President,” the source added.
Duterte on Tuesday clarified his earlier statement that he will no longer grant media interviews until the end of his term.
“If there are interviews, there will be many mistakes, there will be many criticisms. So no interview, no criticism, no wrong statements, no nothing,” he said when interviewed in Davao.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Duterte explained that his remarks is only for “ambush interviews.”
“It was not an interview. An ambush to which I replied that I will not allow interviews anymore now or in the future. That will be the drill until the last day of my term of office,” the mayor said.
Duterte recently drew flak for saying that some of the slain media workers had received payoffs or were involved in shady deals.
Some media outlets reported that Duterte had regarded corrupt journalists as “legitimate targets” but the incoming president’s designated officials claimed his statement was misinterpreted and taken out of context.
WITH CATHERINE VALENTE