MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday criticized US-based news outlet The Washington Post after the paper reported President Rodrigo Duterte was among the leaders whose conversation with US President Donald Trump "horrified White House aides and staff members."
The Washington Post article, "Trump’s calls with foreign leaders have long worried aides, leaving some ‘genuinely horrified,'" cited Trump's conversation with Duterte in April 2017, in which the US leader praised his Philippine counterpart for an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Philippines.
According to the paper, the conversation between the two leaders was among the "anxiety-ridden set of events for his (Trump) aides and members of the administration."
The Palace, however, defended Trump and his "kind words" for the drug war in the Philippines.
"To headline it as "genuinely horrified" shows strong negative bias against the American President, as well as those personalities involved in the article. It violates the objectivity principle we expect from high-caliber journalists of The Washington Post," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"President Trump's praise of our anti-drug policy and action underscores the American leader's fair judgment coming from his unlimited and unimpeded access to information," he said.
The conversation, which included talks about North Korea and China's potential influence in Asia, was leaked in 2017.
A total of 6,600 drug suspects died in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016, the start of the Duterte administration, to May 31, 2019, according to data presented by the national police.
Trump's calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also "horrified" the US leader's former aides, the Washington Post reported.