Dispatch from Crame No. 228: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on President Duterte’s latest attack on Rappler reporter Pia Ranada and on media


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The question was about whether Duterte’s statement — that the revocation of Rappler’s SEC registration was not an attack on press freedom — was consistent with his other statements attacking the media.

In response, Duterte gave Rappler’s Pia Ranada an actual demonstration of how he attacks the media, using the presidential bully pulpit while being surrounded by presidential bodyguards against a lone female reporter.

This is cowardice to the highest degree. The President cannot fight fair especially with women who stand up to his bullying. Whether it is because of a childhood trauma of abuse or just plain uncivilized brutishness, he cannot stand women, especially those who dare oppose him.

The latest confrontation between Duterte and Pia Ranada does not only show that Duterte is on the attack against media, it also shows that Duterte intends to use all the powers of his office to muzzle the press. Calling press freedom a privilege instead of the constitutional right that it is guaranteed to be under whatever regime, even one such as his, Duterte has unmistakably denounced free speech, and that there is no room for it in a Philippines ruled by him.

He is also a hypocrite for attacking Rappler’s so-called foreign ownership, while he surrenders the Spratlys and Benham Rise to China while the nation is asleep, probably giving the most reasonable explanation why Bong Go is a billionaire, and why Malacañang is intent on sabotaging the Navy’s combat weapons system.

More than Pia Ranada and Rappler being allegedly owned by foreigners, what is more alarming is a President owned and controlled by China. This is the true mark of a coward, a President who cannot hold his ground in the face of a real challenge from a stronger bully.

And in relation to the volunteered (slip-of-the-tongue?) information that Bong Go is a billionaire, I have many questions in my mind – Why or how did he become a billionaire? Is his real net worth duly reflected in his SALNs? Is he paying the correct taxes? Why is Duterte super overly protective of his omnipresent special assistant?

Nagtatanong lang po.

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