Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that journalists who engage in corrupt activities and take bribes deserve to die.
Speaking at a press conference to reveal the new members of his cabinet, the mayor of Davao City was asked how he would solve the problem of media killings in the Philippines, especially in light of a reporter who was shot dead last week in Manila, according to CNN.
“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a b—-,” Duterte said, also implying that their murders might have been justified.
“Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong,” he explained.
Duterte also explained that a person simply cannot be protected from violent repercussions of defamation based on the constitution’s provisions on freedom of expression.
“That can’t be just freedom of speech. The constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person,” he said, according to Rappler.
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous nations in the world to practice journalism. A total of 174 journalists have been killed since the end of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ three-decade dictatorship.
The tough-talking politician won this year’s presidential elections in the Philippines, and is set to succeed current President Benigno Aquino III, who will step down from his post on June 30.
Early results of the election showed that Duterte had a wide and undisputable marginal lead over his other rivals. His fellow presidential candidates, Grace Poe and Mar Roxas, announced they’ve conceded from the race a few days after the elections.
Duterte’s win may come off as a surprise to many, but his campaign fueled on the promise of eliminating crime, corruption and drugs within a year won the support of many Filipinos around the country and in the world.