Malacañang on Wednesday slammed the New York Times (NYT) for releasing its “cynical and unfair” report about the life of President Rodrigo Duterte and his beginnings as mayor of Davao City.
In a statement, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said it seemed “well-heeled clients with shady motives” paid the New York Times to publish an in-depth article against the President.
“One would expect more from the New York Times. Their article, ‘Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman,’ sounds like a well-paid hack job for well-heeled clients with shady motives,” Abella said.
“One gets the feeling NYT is not interested in presenting the whole truth, only that with which they can bully those who attempt an independent foreign policy,” he added.
The article published on Tuesday narrated the life of Duterte as a young man and Davao City mayor before he became the Philippines’ most powerful.
“President Rodrigo Duterte relishes the image of killer-savior. He boasts of killing criminals with his own hand. On occasion, he calls for mass murder,” the lead of the piece, written by Richard Paddock, reads.
According to the article, Duterte’s psychological assessment in 1988 showed he had “narcissistic personality disorder” and a “pervasive tendency to demean, humiliate others and violate their rights.”
“Violence in the house, violence in the school, and violence in the neighborhood… That is why he [Duterte] is always angry. Because if you have pain, when you are young, you are angry all the time,” it read, quoting the President’s brother, Emmanuel Duterte.
The New York Times said Duterte may have helped people in need when he was the mayor of Davao City but since he assumed the presidency and waged war on drugs, “he has already surpassed the death toll of President Ferdinand Marcos, whose forces killed about 3,300 political opponents and activists during his harsh 20-year rule.”
The Palace official, however, downplayed the report and emphasized that Duterte “does not engage in western liberal niceties to promote his agenda, to rebuild a nation with compromised internal structures.”
“NYT cynically and unfairly narrates the President’s rise to power in the context of violence,” Abella said, noting that the New York Times also “deliberately” failed to mention Duterte’s accomplishments during his stint as mayor in Davao City.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE