In the press conference that followed his first cabinet meeting, presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte criticized media workers for corruption. He said that it was the main reason for journalist killings, which continues to be an unresolved case.
“Kung papatayin ka, papatayin ka talaga. Di ka naman papatayin kung wala kang nagawa. It’s not because you’re a journalist you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said. (If you are going to get killed, you are going to get killed. You are not going to be killed if you did not do anything. It’s not because you’re a journalist you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.)
Duterte used Davao radio broadcaster Jun Pala as an example, stating that the deceased broadcaster was paid to attack people on-air. Pala, known for being the leader of anti-communist group Alsa Masa, was killed in Davao in 2003.
National Union of Journalists in the Philippines chair Ryan Rosauro expressed his understanding that president-elect Duterte 'finds it okay for a journalist to get killed if he or she is involved in a corrupt practice.’
Rosauro also stressed that a systemic problem like media corruption cannot be solved by extra judicial killings.
“Journalists were killed because of their work in exposing corruption and malfeasance in government. Hence, no matter the weaknesses of Philippine media, it will be a major factor in any effort to cleanse government of the scourge of graft and corruption,” he added.
There have been around 32 journalist killings since President Aquino came into power in 2010, with People’s Brigada reporter Alex Balcoba being the most recent case. He was killed in Manila on May 28, Saturday.