MORE than half of Filipinos believe that publishing anything critical of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is dangerous, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
Based on a set of in-person interviews that involved 1,500 adults, 65% agreed that it was dangerous to “publish or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth,” SWS said on Friday.
Of those who were interviewed, 29% strongly agreed with the statement, while 37% said they “somewhat agreed.” Those who disagreed were at 16% while 18% were undecided.
Presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr., asked to comment on the latest SWS poll, said Filipinos should not doubt administration’s respect for free speech because President Rodrigo R. Duterte, as a lawyer, upholds the 1987 Charter’s Bill of Rights.
“Si Presidente Duterte naman po, bilang isang abugado ay sumumpa na ipatutupad ang ating Saligang Batas kasama na po ‘yung ating tinatawag ng Bill of Rights,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Roque reiterated that the country’s tough-talking leader was not involved in the charges filed against social news network Rappler and the closure of media giant ABS-CBN Corp.
In the case of Rappler, it was an Aquino-appointed Securities and Exchange Commission official who said Rappler violated the Constitution, not the President, the Palace official said.
“Ang ABS-CBN naman ay talagang napaso ang kanilang prangkisa at tanging Kongreso lang ang pu-puwedeng magbigay ng ganyang prangkisa at hindi ang Presidente (As for ABS-CBN, its franchise expired and only Congress can grant that, not the President),” Mr. Roque said.
Mr. Duterte has previously said he would ensure that the network does not get a permit to operate from the National Telecommunications Commission. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza