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MPC denies misreporting Rody’s martial law remarks

MANILA, Philippines - Members of Malacañang Press Corps took offense yesterday at the statement of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who criticized the media for supposedly taking out of context President Duterte’s remarks on martial law last weekend.

“We take exception to the statement of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar accusing the media of ‘misreporting’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement about martial law,” the statement read.

The MPC is composed of members from traditional and mainstream media assigned to cover the Office of the President.

“The media has no obligation to please or satisfy its sources because its loyalty is to the citizens, those who will be affected by the actions of people who are far more powerful than them,” the one-page statement said.

The MPC, majority of whom have covered the past administrations of former presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, expressed concern that the current team of the Presidential Communications Office has the habit of tossing the blame to the media when Duterte comes out controversial in the news media here and abroad.

“We are disturbed and appalled by the propensity of the officials of this administration to blame the media whenever the inflammatory statements of the President stir controversy or draw flak,” it added.   “This trend should stop as it would not contribute to the elevation of the level of public discourse.”

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Even before the MPC issued a statement, Duterte has been receiving flak for his statements against US President Barack Obama, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the European Union.

In the past instances, many of Duterte’s avid supporters vented their ire against mainstream media through attacks guised as concerned social media practitioners, including well-known bloggers who helped Duterte during the campaign.

Andanar’s attack against the mainstream media capped a series of efforts seen as a possible prelude to a curtailment of the freedom of the press, despite his efforts to promote transparency with the President’s decision to support the Freedom of Information in the executive branch and the creation of a task force to look into media killings.

“We hope that such behavior is not an attempt to discredit or undermine the media, which plays a crucial role in keeping our democracy healthy and checking those in power, and supplant them with information sources that would push for an agenda that is less noble than the truth,” the MPC said.  

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