Palace slams Washington Post for engaging in "rumor-mongering" over Trump's call with Duterte
Malacanang hit on Wednesday The Washington Post for allegedly engaging in "rumor-mongering" when it came out with an article about US President Donald Trump's calls with foreign leaders, including President Rodrigo Duterte, and which supposedly worried his aides and made them horrified.
"The article borders on rumor-mongering. We understand that the reporters based their story on interviews with 12 former or current Trump officials who all spoke on the condition of anonymity," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, referring to the article entitled "Trump's calls with foreign leaders have long worried aides, leaving some genuinely horrified."
He said the Office of the President does not deny the existence of a telephone conversation between Duterte and Trump in 2017. In such phone conversation, the US leader praised Duterte's war against illegal drugs.
"The fact that President Trump's private conversations with world leaders are leaked freely to the press by unnamed sources is simply outlandish. 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," Panelo said.
Citing The Washington Post's slogan of "Democracy Dies in Darkness," he said it was very apt in relation to the newspaper because "it died in darkness when the prestigious publication engaged itself in political propaganda."
"The anonymous staff interviewed is simply in the dark exhibiting his zero inside knowledge on the Philippines' campaign against illegal drugs. 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," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
Panelo called the staff as "blissfully ignorant" about pertinent facts surrounding the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal narcotics.
"Hence, the reaction, if true, is not surprising," he said.
Since Duterte assumed office in June 2016 and declared war against illegal drugs, over 6,000 individuals have died in police anti-drug operations, government data showed. Celerina Monte/DMS