Politicians Paid New York Times for ‘Demolition Job’ vs President Duterte, Palace Says

Some politicians paid the New York Times (NYT) to feature a so-called demolition job against President Rodrigo Duterte. This is the response of Malacañang to the controversial posts and video documentary by the American publication, saying that the president should be held accountable for the EJKs (extra-judicial killings) in the country.

“NYT’s very obvious demolition work flies in the face of the very high approval of PPRD enjoys. The newspaper tries to stir global outrage in a nation that welcomes its newfound peace and order.” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement posted at Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) official website this Monday, March 27.

“One can only conclude that certain personalities and politicians have mounted a well funded campaign utilizing hack writers and their ilk in their bid to oust PRRD. However, the Administration will not be deterred in fulfilling its promise of building a progressive and inclusive nation free from drugs, crimes and corruption.” Spokesperson Abella added.

Last Tuesday, March 21, New York Times published a news feature titled “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman” by Richard Paddock. Here, President Duterte was described as a leader under the context of violence. Last Saturday, an editorial piece titled “Accountability for Duterte” was posted on the said online newspaper.

The NYT editorial featured some statements from Atty. Jude Sabio (Edgar Matobato’s lawyer), and Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano, who filed an impeachment complaint against President Duterte. It also suggested all the charges filed against jailed Senator Leila de Lima are politically motivated, and that the LP senator should be released immediately.

On the same day, a preview of a video documentary, “When A President Says, ‘I’ll Kill You'” was posted at New York Times Facebook page. It showed video clips of photojournalist Raffy Lerma covering reports of killings, and President Duterte’s previous statements on the government’s war vs illegal drugs. The full video documentary was shown Sunday.