The National Union of Journalists (NUJP) took offense in Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s accusation that drug lords are funding media to thwart President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
In a statement, Ryan Rosauro, NUJP chairperson, challenged Aguirre to provide evidence and name the media groups he claims are being funded by influential drug lords and, if the evidence warrants, file charges against them.
Aguirre blurted out the serious accusation in his speech, Aug. 8 at the 43rd anniversary of Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity. When asked for details, however, Aguirre could not provide details.
“No, we are not saying he is lying. We are saying that, by casting such a broad assertion against media without presenting any proof, Mr. Aguirre is not only committing a serious injustice, he is endangering all journalists,” Rosauro said.
The NUJP added Aguirre’s sweeping statement “is much worse than claiming ‘most’ of the more than 170 journalists who have been murdered since 1986 deserved their fates because they were ‘corrupt.'”
“In effect, what Mr. Aguirre has done is spread a deadly rumor that could place any and all journalists in the cross-sights of those responsible for the orgy of drug-related extrajudicial killings that continue to flood our streets with blood,” the NUJP said.
The group vowed to consult legal experts to explore legal recourse.