A media group on Friday called on President Rodrigo Duterte not to blame journalists for their reports, because he also has a responsibility to ensure that his statements are clear.
"Subalit kayo ang Pangulo, ang inyong mga pahayag sa publiko ay aming itinuturing . . . na patakaran ng inyong pamahalaan," the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said in a statement.
(You are the President, so we treat your public statements as government policy.)
The group added that some of Duterte's supporters also treat his statements as orders, so the firebrand leader should not claim that his statements are jokes.
"Kung hindi malinaw ang inyong mga pahayag at hindi malinaw kung ito ay biro o seryoso, nasa inyo po at wala sa amin o sa taumbayan, ang problema. Seryoso po kami sa aming gawain at tungkulin naming ituring na seryoso at iulat ng tapat ang anumang namumutawi sa bibig ng Pangulo," the group said.
(If your statements are not clear, and it is not clear if they are made in jest, the problem is with you, not us or the public. We take our job seriously, and it is our responsibility to report the truth, whatever it is the president may say.)
In an interview with GMA News on Thursday, Duterte said that he likes to "play" with media.
"Nilalaro ko kayo. Mahilig talaga ako sa ganoon. Alam ng team ninyo. Mahilig talaga ako magbitaw ng kalokohan. Istorya lang naman iyan. Maniwala pa kayo?" he said.
(I'm playing with you. I like to do that. Your team knows this. I like to joke around. It's just a story. Do you believe it?)
He added that people should look at his eyes to know if he is telling a joke or not.
In a separate interview with ABS-CBN News, he said that people who believe reports that he killed people while he was mayor of Davao City are "stupid."
"If you do not find out, spend time to validate and verify, it's your problem," Duterte said when asked to clarify previous statements that he killed and would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.
When asked to further clarify his rhetoric, Duterte said, "Basta ako, mahal ko ang bayan ko. 'Wag mo sirain. T****** yayariin kita."
(I just love my country. Don't destroy it, otherwise I'll destroy you.)