ABS-CBN News used a misleading headline for its latest news report on the response of President Rodrigo Duterte to Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. According to Pompee La Viña, who was the social media director of the Duterte campaign, the report of ABS-CBN News with the headline, “Duterte hits Sereno anew” is very wrong.
“Dear ABS-CBN. Please check the meaning of the word “hit” in the dictionary. Synonyms include strike, slap, smack. It doesn’t apply here. I hope it’s just your reporter’s deficient vocabulary and nothing more. In the service of the Filipino.” Pompee La Viña wrote on his Facebook page this Friday, August 26, along with a link to the ABS-CBN News report.
The ABS-CBN news report in question was written by news editor Aaron Aguilar Lozada, and was published this Friday, the same day when President Duterte made his response to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s earlier statement against warrantless arrests. Apparently, the verb “hit” was mentioned again in the first paragraph of his news report.
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“After making a public apology to the country’s top magistrate two weeks ago, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday hit Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno anew.” Aaron Lozada wrote on his news report. He added that the president was then in Panacan, Davao City as the speaker for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
We at TN also checked the similar news report of other major news sites, and we found out that the GMA News report written by Trisha Macas has almost the same news headline – “Duterte hits Sereno anew over warrants for arrest.” And to be fair to both networks, we decided to watch the full speech of President Duterte, and we put here some parts of his latest statements to CJ Sereno.
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“I’d like to respond to the Chief Justice. Inasmuch as possible, I want to be respectful as I can ever be. Madam Justice, you are again wrong when you said ‘do not allow yourself to be arrested when there is no warrant’. Hearing your words, ‘do not allow yourselves to be arrested without warrant’ is a dangerous statement. You will promote anarchy.”
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From the above statements alone and the way he spoke, we did not find or hear something that can conclude that President Duterte hit CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno. In fact, we felt that he did his best to tone down his voice. Now, did ABS-CBN News and GMA News intentionally used the word “hit” to mislead the netizens, especially that many of them are only reading the news headline and not the entire content? Be the judge.