Justice vowed in media killings

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Although he’s squabbling with mass media, the administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte will run after killers of journalists and bring them to justice, incoming justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II vowed yesterday.

Duterte triggered outrage when he said last week that corrupt journalists who were killed had what was coming to them.

“I myself could give the assurance that justice will always be served in all cases, including media killings,” Aguirre told The STAR. 

Aguirre stressed that Duterte, being a former prosecutor, would never condone extrajudicial killings and murders of journalists or promote a culture of impunity.

He also said that criticisms on Duterte’s statements on media killings could be attributed to bad reporting.

“President Rody was only misquoted and his statements were misinterpreted. Media was not fair to him,” Aguirre said.

In a press conference in Davao City last Tuesday, Duterte said some slain journalists were involved in corrupt practices.

“Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong,” Duterte was quoted as saying.

He did not directly say it was justifiable to kill corrupt journalists, but several media outfits reported that Duterte had practically “endorsed” media killings.

Duterte also said that the constitutional provision on freedom of expression would not necessarily protect journalists from murder.

“That can’t be just freedom of speech. The Constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person,” he said.

Aguirre maintained that Duterte’s point was that the law cannot protect corrupt journalists who have wronged others from violent attacks.




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