Palace says Ressa ''remains out of touch with the political realities''
Malacanang on Saturday said Rappler CEO Maria Ressa refused to accept that President Rodrigo Duterte is what the Filipino want after she wrote an opinion article in The Los Angeles Times.
Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar said it is ''tragic'' that Ressa remains “out of touch” with the political realities on the ground after claiming that “lies laced with anger and hate began to systematically tear our democracy apart in the Philippines,” and “like a virus, this disease spread fast. With the help of social media, President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in May 2016.”
“It is tragic that Ms. Ressa remains out of touch with the political realities on the ground as she continues to insinuate that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte won through lies and fake propaganda… The President won fair and square and trashed his nearest political rival with the largest electoral margin in Philippine history,” Andanar said in a statement.
“Simply put, the CEO of Rappler refuses to accept that the President is what the people truly wanted and needed. The people hoped for an action man who can bring positive change to their lives and the Filipino people got what they wanted and truly wanted. His style of governance, albeit unorthodox, resonates with the people. This is not democracy being torn apart but rather democracy naturally playing out,” he added.
Andanar said Duterte’s high satisfaction rating showed there is no “destruction of democracy”.
“The results speak for themselves. Three years into President Duterte’s term, he maintained a high satisfaction rating where 80 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with his performance, and 85 percent approve of and trust the President according to two independent pollsters, notwithstanding all the black propaganda and loud political noise waged against the President and his Administration,” he said.
He cited a non-commissioned survey in the third quarter of 2018 disclosed 84 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with how democracy works in the country.
“Ironically, the latter was even reported by Ms. Ressa's own news website,” he said.
On the 27,000 statement, Andanar said the Rappler CEO continues to cite the number which is the total homicide cases, including cases not related to the drug war.
He added the number of unfortunate deaths from legitimate police operations are 5,526.
“The government reiterates that this anti-illegal drug campaign is backed by the public. In the second quarter, 82 percent of adult Filipinos are satisfied with this campaign according to another Social Weather Stations survey,” he said.
Andanar said the government assures that it does not employ “disinformation tactics".
“This is not the policy and the practice of the Duterte administration. Our office at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) is at the forefront to combat disinformation not only to clear out matters that concern the government but also to empower individuals to be responsible and vigilant consumers of media, especially in the digital space, through our 'Dismiss Disinformation' campaign and other of our many programs,” he said.
Andanar also debunked the claim of Ressa that activists and news organizations face “top-down persecution by the government”.
“The allegations of Ms. Ressa that activists and news organizations face “top-down persecution by the government” are baseless and absurd. In fact, despite hurling criticisms against news organizations that carry fake news about his administration, the Chief Executive still signed his very first administrative order as Chief Executive creating an inter-agency body tasked to protect members of the press. The President also recently signed Republic Act 11458, which expands the coverage of exemptions from revealing the source of published news or information obtained in confidence,” he said.
Andanar said the Duterte government makes sure justice is served, regardless of any political leaning.
“It is not the policy and practice of the current government to “harass” dissenters, as we only present our side of the story. The national government will keep on telling the truth, and we remain confident the people themselves will tell President Duterte’s true legacy,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS