MANILA—A leader in the House of Representatives on Thursday slammed a New York Times (NYT) article for its “vilified” portrayal of President Rodrigo Duterte, linking it to alleged efforts to destabilize his administration.
In a statement, House appropriations committee chair and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles dismissed the NYT article as a “rebooted, rehashed, exaggerated remake of a movie script” intended to vilify President Duterte.
The said NYT article titled “Becoming Duterte: the Making of a Philippine Strongman” was published on March 21, wherein the author, Richard Paddock, described Duterte as a man who “relishes the image of a killer-savior.”
Nograles added that this reinforces suspicions that certain groups are working hard to tarnish the Duterte presidency with “unfounded allegations” such as the spate of extrajudicial killings in the administration’s drug war, as well as the alleged threat of authoritarianism.
“The spin doctors are on overtime to put in disrepute the President of our republic in a desperate attempt to take over. They are going international because they know that our people know better and nobody would believe them,” Nograles said.
“Imagine a story printed on an American broadsheet reprinted verbatim by Philippine newspapers on the same day… This is obviously a calibrated and calculated move by enemies of the State to force themselves into power in an undemocratic manner. Only rich and powerful enemies have the means to operate in this manner,” he added.
The House leader alleged that Paddock used information fed by Duterte’s detractors and not on real and objective research which is expected from hard-nosed journalists.
“The writer made it appear that he interviewed a few people for the article but it is clear that he picked only parts of those interviews that were unfavorable to President Duterte and his people. It destroyed the time-honored balance required in journalism and recklessly tried to damage the interests of the Philippines,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the New York Times owes the Philippines and the President an apology and an explanation.
Nograles noted that the NYT article came out following an exposé of Ethel Cantor Constantino, a former Davao City broadcaster now based in New York City, claiming that certain groups are now working hard to raise funds in the United States purportedly to finance anti-Duterte activities in the country.