By NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
November 29, 2017
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines demands that PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa take back his utterly asinine – and potentially dangerous – insinuation that respected news agency Reuters may be in cahoot with drug syndicates in the release this week of a special report on the suspicious police killing of three men in Tondo, Manila in October.
At the very least, he owes the men and women of Reuters, particularly writers Clare Baldwin and Andrew R.C. Marshall, an apology and a pledge to ensure their safety from the possible consequences of his irrational and irresponsible utterances.
Dela Rosa claimed Reuters “were timing this kind of damaging reports about the PNP when (the drug war) may be reverted back to us [sic],” and then concluded, “That means our enemies really don’t want us to participate in the drug war. What are they afraid of? I don’t think they’re drug addicts.”
For a man at the helm of an organization that has acknowledged killing thousands of suspected drug pushers and addicts in the course of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs, Dela Rosa, of all people, should know that even speculating out loud about people’s possible addiction to narcotics may have fatal consequences, as the corpses with placards proclaiming the “sins” for which they were punished without due process amply illustrate.
What is even more appalling is deigning to tell media – in this case, Reuters – how they should report the news.
“What I can tell Reuters is that if you want the PNP to look bad, you can do it. You can really do it,” he said. “If you want to present a very objective presentation, you can also do it. If you want to be biased in our favor, you can also do it. So they have a choice.”
All this, as news reports noted, while admitting he had yet to see the Reuters report.
It truly alarming that a man whose job is supposed to be governed by strict rules of evidence has many times shown a propensity for shooting from the lip, this time pillorying a news organization for a report he has not even read yet while glossing over the reason for the report – the existence of possible murderers and sundry lawbreakers – within the service he leads.
Alas for you, Mr. Dela Rosa, the media have faced worse dangers than loose-lipped cops who choose to blame their shortcomings on others.
So if it is your intention to intimidate Reuters and other independent journalists into going soft on their reportage for fear of being tarred and feathered by your baseless accusations, you should know you will fail.
Really, Sir, the only honorable way out for you is to apologize to Reuters and promise to ensure their safety. Oh, yes, and pledge to respect the independence of the media and, please, oh please, do read reports before reacting to them. # nordis.net