MANILA – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called out Senator Alan Peter Cayetano after he claimed that the media is wrongly portraying President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
NUJP, in a statement Tuesday, said Cayetano's accusations are baseless and endanger media practitioners around the country.
It is also ironic, the journalists’ group said, that while Cayetano implied the media’s tally of killings has been blown up, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said that the number of suspected drug-related killings rose to 1,779 on Monday, during a Senate hearing on the death toll.
NUJP said Cayetano should not single out media outfits such as ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer for allegedly wanting to “tar the administration” by headlining the growing outrage over the killings, and for keeping a “kill list."
“What would Mr. Cayetano have the media do, play blind as the bodies pole up and go along with the canard to declare all who have died, including the innocent…guilty as alleged?” the NUJP said.
The NUJP decried Cayetano’s accusation that media have been paid with drug money supposedly to discredit the administration, saying it is “without…an iota of evidence.”
"Such accusations put journalists’ lives in danger, painting a bull’s eye not only for those behind the supposed drug-related killings, but also providing a “convenient cover for those who would silence an independent press,” NUJP added.
The group further called on journalists to continue to keep tabs on the war on drugs.
READ: Cayetano slams 'Wild Wild West' media portrayal of PH
On Monday, Cayetano said local and international media portray the country as if it were the “Wild Wild West,” highlighting the deaths of drug suspects.
In May, Duterte also expressed a negative view of the media, saying that journalists who were victims of extrajudicial killings were likely corrupt, in response to a question how he planned to address the deaths of journalists in the course of their work.
He however softened his remarks during his State of the Nation Address, when he said that his government will not condone violence or repression of media, and that the Palace is working on an administrative order addressing media killings.
He also added that “bona fide” media practitioners are his “partners for change."