Image Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, runningmate of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte asked the UN (United Nations) to correct what he described as its “premature” statement on media killings in the Philippines.


The UN may misunderstood what Duterte meant when he talked about corrupt reporters being killed due to the cultural “disconnect” between the incoming president and westerners. Cayetano said.

In a chance interview at the Almendras Gym, Cayetano said that “The reaction of the UN is premature and lacks information,”.

“This is completely false…They did not get the way the president-elect speaks,” he added.

Cayetano stressed that Duterte is ready to protect the country and its people, including journalists.

Cayetano also said that “This issue is being magnified to make it appear that we have a monster president when we have a president who hates crime but loves his people and he will fight even for journalists,”   

Media groups condemned the statement with international watchdog Reporters Without Borders going as far as asking Philippine journalists to boycott Duterte’s press conferences until he apologizes.

However, the side of Duterte believes that the criticisms were misplaced as the president-elect did not say that the killing of corrupt journalists is justifiable.

The President-elect Rodrigo Duterte himself denied that he was endorsing the killing of media workers even as he challenged journalists to police their ranks.

Early this week, two (2) UN (United Nations) experts said Duterte was “inciting violence” when he made the much-criticized statement.

Duterte’s statement was “irresponsible” and “unbecoming of a leader.” said by the UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Cristof Heyns.

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The statement “can be understood as a permissive signal to potential killers that the murder of journalists is acceptable in certain circumstances.” said by the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye.

Duterte, however, shrugged off the comments and advised them to “go home and get some sleep.”

The latest to criticize Duterte for his statements was no less than UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who said that he was “extremely disturbed” by the next Philippine leader’s remarks.

“I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Ban said in a statement.

“Such comments are of particular concern in light of ongoing impunity for serious cases of violence against journalists in the Philippines. I will also continue to stand up for the rights of journalists and their defenders to be represented here at the United Nations,” Ban added.

Cayetano believes the cultural barrier and the differences in the manner of speaking may have been the reasons why the UN was fed the wrong information about Duterte’s pronouncement.

Cayetano added that “What happened was he said and she said, he said, he said. The UN will then be told, sir, Duterte said it’s okay to kill (journalists). But that’s not what he said,”.

“You know it’s time for professional organizations, professional diplomats to step in and take away this disconnect. This is no longer miscommunication and misinformation. We’re jumping into conclusion,” he added.

Cayetano said the UN should not react to statements without knowing their context.

“If they had the interpreter, if they had local counterparts here explain to them, this is the way our president talks, this is how we meant, their statement should have been ‘we agree with the president, journalism should not be a refuge or place for extortionists but there should always be no justification for killing anyone,”’ he said.

“The UN should clarify its statement because they misunderstood,” he added.

Duterte already had tough words for the UN even before he made his comment about media killings. Last March, Duterte called the UN “hypocritical” for asking developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions without imposing sanctions on industrialized countries that pollute the air. Early this month, Duterte slammed the UN for its supposed failure to act on the killings in Africa.

Source: Philstar

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