Duterte stands by statement on media killings

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Davao City (CNN Philippines) — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte stood by his statement that journalists who have been assassinated were usually those who were corrupt.

“They are vultures pretending to be journalists,” he said in a news conference late Thursday.

He refused to apologize for his statement against allegedly corruption-tainted journalists who have been killed. Various media groups and relatives of those who were slain denounced Duterte's statement, some saying it will encourage attacks against journalists who report on crime and corruption.

Related: NUJP says there is no justification for taking life

“Ang problema dito [the problem here is], every son of a b**** who claims to be journalist makes money out of it, milking money, extorting money from the people and he is killed and he is glorified because he's journalist,” Duterte said.

As far as Duterte is concerned, there are three kinds of journalists – the first are the honest crusaders; the second are those in the payroll of private companies; and the third are the “low life” who demand money in exchange for stopping exposes.

"Kayong mga [You] low life on the third, you can die for all I care,” he said.

Duterte said journalists think too highly of themselves. He also claimed that TV networks sacrifice the truth for money. Despite his rants against corruption in media, he admitted giving money to some journalists.

"If worse comes to worst then we'll just have to expose each other. Sige [go ahead], then I'll give you the names of persons that I have given money who are all journalists. Not only money, favors sometimes,” he said.

Asked about this seeming contradiction – denouncing corruption in media while paying off some journalists — Duterte said what he does is not a form of corruption.

"Pang-PR. Pamasahe, ganun [For PR (public relations), for the fare] … That is not corruption," he said.

Duterte also scoffed at calls by the international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders to boycott his news conferences until he apologizes for his statements on media killings.

Instead, he dared journalists not to cover his news conferences and his activities.

”If that is a threat, p********, hoy mga ugok, mga p******** [sons of b*******, hey you knuckleheads, you sons of b*******], I can lose the presidency, my life, honor, just do not f*** with me,” he said.

“Wag ninyo akong takutin [Do not threaten me],” he said. “Boycott, boycott, leche kayo [damn you],” he said. “As matter of fact, I'm challenging you guys, kill journalism, stop journalism in this country. If you are worth your salt, you should accept the challenge.”