PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, June 8, said that the media has lost his trust after journalists went for his family following the narcotics trade allegations.
He also said that he would be choosy in granting media interviews from now on because of it.
“Hindi na ako nagpapa-interview ha. Choosy ako, choosy… (I don’t grant interviews anymore. I am choosy). I have completely lost trust in Philippine media,” Duterte told religious leader Apollo Quiboloy in an interview aired on Sonshine TV.
“After all the trash that you have read, all of you. Even your child is accused of being a drug lord,” he added, referring to the allegations made by self-confessed former drug syndicate member “Bikoy” about his daughter Veronica.
Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who claimed to be “Bikoy,” has recanted his statements as well as apologized for linking the Duterte family to illegal drugs.
Duterte also made accusations about some media practitioners being paid hacks.
“They are the ones who can write and they are the ones who can, you know, invent or do something outside of journalistic practices,” he said.
“Outright extortion. There are a lot of them. As you have noticed in the matrix, the one involving Bikoy. Bikoy has retracted his statements. But the people know it’s not true,” he added.
Duterte was referring to the matrix released by Malacañang last April that tagged several media entities like Rappler, Vera Files and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and lawyers group National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to a supposed plot to oust Duterte.
“Never mind about the criticism. With regard to the media, the matrix, all of them are paid hacks, believe me,” Duterte stated.
He also claimed that Ellen Tordesillas, Vera Files president and veteran journalist, has been asking for money from her sources due to her cancer.
“Tagal na ‘yan sige pang hingi-hingi kasi may sakit daw siya – cancer. Hanggang ngayon, buhay pa rin (She has been asking for money because she has cancer. Until now, she is alive). So maybe tonight, we can pray together to pray for ano… Para hindi na maghingi (so she won’t beg anymore),” Duterte said.
“When we pray, you pray for help for her recovery. But my prayer would be different. And you know, what you are thinking, probably that you’d pay – you’d pray would be exactly the opposite of that and that is my fervent… prayer,” he added.
Tordesillas, for her part, said she no longer has cancer and never asked for money from other people.
“While I was undergoing treatment in 2003, I did not ask money from other people. The one who helped me was Jake Macasaet, the late publisher of Ang Pahayagang Malaya, where I used to work,” said Tordesillas in a statement.
According to her, two senators had written the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to credit the cost of her hospital room to their Priority Development Assistance Fund without her asking for it.
“They did not give me cash,” she clarified.
Tordesillas also said that she donated the cash given to her by the two senators to the PGH Medical Foundation, which helps poor patients.
She added that she sent her donation receipts to the two politicians for proof.
“I always include the country in my prayers. I hope the truth will prevail in each one of us, including President Duterte,” Tordesillas said.