President Rodrigo Duterte did not give the ‘green light’ to Indonesian President Joko Widodo regarding the execution of Mary Jane Veloso. This was clarified by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. this Monday, September 12, as a response to a news report from Jakarta Post Monday morning. Below is our analysis on why netizens got confused.
“Duterte has given the green light for Mary Jane’s execution: Jokowi” The headline of Jakarta Post report reads. The second paragraph of the news report contains the supposed statement of President Widodo to Antara news agency in Serang, Banten, saying that “President Duterte has given the go-ahead to proceed with the execution.”
Nevertheless, Yasay contradicted the Jakarta Post report, saying that President Duterte did not give President Widodo the green light to execute Mary Jane Veloso. Instead, he said that President Duterte told the Indonesian president that “he respects their judicial processes and will accept whatever the final decision they will arrive at regarding her case.”
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Credit: Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) Facebook
Yasay also described the Jakarta Post report as having an erroneous headline, noting that Mary Jane’s execution has been indefinitely deferred. As of posting, Jakarta Post has not yet commented on this issue. However, ABC Indonesia Correspondent Adam Harvey claimed that President Duterte really said the controversial statement to President Widodo.
Credit: Adam Harvey Facebook/Twitter
We at TN did some analyis on the controversy regarding President Duterte’s statement, and here is our observation. Based on Adam Harvey’s translation of President Widodo’s statement, President Duterte said that “Please go ahead if you want to execute her.” Apparently, this is totally different than saying that, “Duterte has given the green light.”
As you can see, the headline and news content of Jakarta Post somehow suggest that President Duterte “pushed” the execution and “did nothing” to prevent it. But if Jakarta Post included the phrase, “if you want to execute her,” it means that President Widodo has an option to either execute or to not execute her, and that Duterte will respect his decision.
We are therefore, not concluding that Jakarta Post intentionally want to mislead the public and that they want Filipinos to be mad at President Duterte. We are also NOT defending them. However, we strongly suggest that next time, they should be extra careful in their headline, and avoid changing or editing the quoted statement just to attract readers.