“ATTACK me... if I do wrong in my job,” President Rodrigo Duterte said to members of the media.
In his arrival speech that capped his international trips --first to Laos for the ASEAN and then to Indonesia for a working visit -- Duterte said: “Do not hesitate to attack me, criticize me if I do wrong in my job. It is your duty to your country. As I have my duty to the people to serve you. Huwag kayong maano.”
He was responding to a question regarding “mistaken” media reports stemming from his pre-departure address that was supposed to contain “strong statements” against President Barack Obama that sparked diplomatic controversy.
He said that people commit mistakes, some with malice and some without.
If the mistake “is just a mere shortfall of talent, hayaan mo na. I would like to presume that you did it without malice,” he said even as he expressed appreciation for an apology for inaccurate reporting.
Duterte also exhorted cameramen and the media in general: “Yun mga camera d’yan kayo ang kukuha d’yan... Baka minamaliit ninyo ang role ninyo in the entire gamut of media. You are recording the history of this country. Someday, pag-on nila na ganon tapos walang lumabas, na-blur, ay anak ka ng *** . Natulog siguro ‘yung (expletive) doon sa...,” he said.
“Pero, with an accurate and true representation of what’s going on, I said saludo ako. The freedom of the people to be informed and a media that is there to find -- true and accurate (information). You portray history. Kaya ako istrikto,” the President said as he cited the vital role media play in history.
Duterte recited his favorite quotation from Abraham Lincoln: “I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won't matter. If I'm wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won't make a difference.”
He also said that he performed his best in his ASEAN summit stint.
He also said that he has no ill-feelings against the media.
“I am not at liberty to be angry at anybody. It is your sworn duty to ask questions. Wala akong galit sa inyo.”
The President also stressed his preferential sympathy for the poor.
“Huwag ninyong galawin ang maliit na tao. Kasi sila ‘yung nangailangan ng gobyerno. The rich and famous, for the oligarchy, they don’t need a president at all,” he said.
Prior to his trip to the ASEAN Summit, Duterte told reporters in his pre-departure press conference in Davao City that no one can lecture him on extrajudicial, not even Obama.
The President later hogged the international headlines for allegedly describing the US President as a “son of a bitch.”
Because of this, Obama cancelled his bilateral meeting with Duterte who has made it clear that the expletive was not meant for the US president.
However, speaking before the Filipino community in Indonesia, Duterte blamed the international press for their choice of words when translating “pu**** ina” as he clarified that the controversial expletive was not directed at Obama.