No reason to celebrate EDSA under Duterte - media watchdog

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2018 03:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2018 03:14 PM

Watch more in iWantv or TFC.tv

MANILA - Under President Rodrigo Duterte, there is no reason to celebrate the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution, the chairperson of a Filipino media watchdog said Sunday.

Veteran journalist Vergel Santos told ANC's Dateline Philippines that Filipinos should mark the 32nd anniversary of EDSA only to remember how the country can redeem itself. 

"I don't think we have any reason to celebrate EDSA but definitely, we have every reason to mark EDSA if only to assure ourselves that at one time, we were capable of redeeming ourselves, that we might be able to do that again this time around," said Santos who chairs the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

Santos lamented that press freedom, 32 years after the People Power uprising, has regressed to pre-EDSA conditions, with journalists being trolled and threatened by those in power. 

He cited the banning of Rappler journalist Pia Ranada from Malacañang Palace, which he stressed undermines her constitutional rights and duty as a reporter. 

"Just look at the media today and you will see that they have been holding back. The media have in fact separated between those who are trying their best to exercise their freedoms and fulfill their duties and those who have decided to go across and be beholden to this regime," he said.

Santos believes the media should join the protests today as he sees a bleak future ahead for the country as those who want to stay in power are using charter change as their strategy. 

"They should protest. News people are forced to a choice—a choice between allowing these things or not," Santos said. 

"This is a brutal regime," he added.

But there is a difference between Marcos and Duterte, according to Santos.

"Marcos' time was an official martial law regime. The President declared it. This is undeclared martial law but mutual authoritarianism all the same."