Panelo: No mistake in Duterte’s media killing statement

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Incoming presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he sees nothing wrong with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on media killings which earned criticisms.

Asked if he advises the president-elect regarding his mistakes pertaining to his statement on media killings, Panelo said he did not see anything wrong with Duterte’s pronouncements. He clarified that the mayor is his own man and will correct his mistakes once he realizes it.

“For one I did not think there was a mistake on what he said last night I was there in the exchange so nakita ko rin na walang mali sa sinabi niya lang yung personal knowledge niya of the case at saka yung logic na not because you’re a journalist e pinatay ka na,” Panelo told the reporters in a press conference.

“Ang nakikita ko kay President-elect Duterte he doesn’t need to be pointed out that he has committed a mistake. He discerns himself and when he realizes that his statement has been taken out of context, he explains it or, for instance, he was misquoted, he clarifies it. If he thinks that his playful statements have been made to be very serious ones, he tells us,” he added.

On Tuesday, Duterte said in a press conference that most journalists are killed because they are corrupt.

Panelo stressed that Duterte was taken out of context since it was a heated exchange between the reporter and the president-elect. He said Duterte was only saying that regardless of profession, anyone who commits a crime will be killed and said it’s a mere advice that if there is corruption ongoing in the media, then it shall be called out.

“Kapag ang media takes side may problema na dapat kayo nu’n, mayroong masasaktan lalo na kung naglaro ka pa meaning tumanggap ka pa [ng bribe],” Panelo said.

“If you are discerning it up, kung titignan ninyo ang kanyang body language, ‘yun talaga ang ibig niyang sabihin. Siguro dahil sa mainit na palitan ng usapan between him and the one asking question parang nawawala yung context ng kanyang sinasabi,” he said.

The incoming presidential spokesperson assured the members of the media that Duterte will be tough against perpetrators of media killings since the president-elect is a prosecutor and against killing but he said he is not aware of the task force being formed for this. He said any killing is illegal unless justified and the Duterte administration will pursue criminals base on the evidence presented against it.

Meanwhile, asked if he will always clarify statements of Duterte, which might be taken out of context by members of the international and local media, Panelo said he will only do so upon necessity. He added that there is no need to study the president-elect’s body language as media has gotten used to it after being exposed to coverage in the past two years.

“If there is doubt as to the effect of what he said then that would be my job as presidential spokesperson to clarify and not go beyond what he (Duterte) said, not deviate from it but to expound in the context it was stated or delivered by him,” Panelo said.

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