The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines views with concern the statements of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte against broadcaster Dodong Solis of Radyo ni Juan.
The mayor has resorted to personal attacks in response to commentaries of Solis on the agrarian unrest between farmers and Lapanday Foods Corp.; the recent attack of New People’s Army rebels against the company that unfortunately resulted in the death of a bystander; and on statements she issued, including her husband Manases “Mans” Carpio’s association with Lapanday as lawyer.
Solis’ remarks are part of his work as a broadcaster and an exercise of his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.
The mayor has the same right to refute these remarks.
But in a statement, the mayor said:
“Naluoy kos imong asawa, iyaha kinabuhi nagdepende ra intawn sa imong babà, di pud siya kaayo makalayo kay gamay rapud baya imong utok,” Duterte said in a Facebook post. (I pity your wife, your life only depends on your mouth, she can’t leave you because you have a small brain. If I were her, I would leave you.)
“I am fair game but do not touch my husband. Open your mouth again about my husband and I will tell your wife and your entire family about your secrets.”
Her brother and vice mayor Paolo Duterte exercised the same power on Solis, with the former threatening to beat up the broadcaster.
“Asa man imong pangutok? Kinsa ka? Wa ko kaila nimo! Sikat ka o gapasikat?” said the vice mayor in an open letter posted on his Facebook page. (Where’s your brain huh? Who are you anyway? I don’t know you! Are you famous or just trying to be one?)
“Ayaw ko unahi kay ug imo hilabtan akong pamilya di ko mag duha duha ug bukbok nimo.”
(Don’t start with me, because if you do, I won’t think twice to beat you up.)
Resorting to personal attacks and veiled threats is alarming especially coming from an official who has physically attacked and publicly humiliated a court sheriff whom she perceived to have defied her instructions in the demolition of houses of informal settlers.
The mayor is no ordinary person. She wields influence and power not only due to her office but as daughter of the highest official of the country.
As a public official, she is subject to commentaries and criticisms especially from the press and should not respond with personal attacks and threats.