IT is unfair to attribute to President Rodrigo Duterte the reported “unabated” extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers which have already reached over 2,000 as of last September.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III made the remark as he rejected the “serial killer president” description made by a French newspaper on Mr. Duterte.
“For a French newspaper to label our President as a serial killer, ang tanong ko, what’s their basis? Ano basis nila? May pinapunta ba silang investigative reporter dito na nag-investigate lang sila or did they just get it from the Internet?” he asked.
He said the Senate is addressing the issue by conducting an investigation into the resolution filed by Sen. Leila de Lima to probe the rising number of summary killings of alleged drug dealers.
“Actually ‘yun ‘yung issue eh, the Resolution No. 9 here in the Senate (designed) to investigate who is or who may be responsible for this unexplained killings,” said Pimentel in a chance interview.
“Eh, hinahamon tayo ng isang French newspaper. I don’t know why they are more knowledgeable of what is happening here in the Philippines than Filipinos themselves. I don’t know maybe the paper needed to sell some issues,” he said.
Pressed whether the President should hire a press relations firm to bolster his image in the international community, Pimentel said: “Ewan ko. Ako kasi hindi ako sanay sa mga PR. I don’t know kung si President ganun din.”
“I don’t think sanay din siya sa mga ganyan. So it’s addressed to his good judgment. Pero, why should we be concerned about what they write about us abroad?” he asked.
“Duon sa French newspaper I think, that’s unfair. Because did they conduct any in depth, investigative work before they came up with their conclusions? They should follow the Philippine media. Before we make unfair headlines we have investigated,” he said.
Pressed to comment on actress Agot Isidro’s post in her Tweeter account calling the President a “psychopath” due to his apparent rude attitude against his critics, Pimentel said: “I would defend the person’s freedom of speech. She has that freedom, she has that right.”
“Well Agot Isidro lives under a democracy. She has freedom of speech. We allow her characterization of the President. Karapatan po niya ‘yun,” he added.