Cayetano: BBC documentary is anti-Duterte propaganda
Foreign Affairs Secretary Peter Alan Cayetano has slammed the documentary of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which painted a negative picture of the Duterte administration, as “anti-Duterte propaganda.”
Cayetano defended the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, the reported crackdown on government critics, and the alleged persecution of the media.
“The documentary amounts to nothing more than anti-Duterte propaganda, more worthy of tabloid journalism and gossip than the venerable institution that we thought BBC was,” Cayetano said in a statement dated October 2.
The description of the documentary — “Our World—Philippines: Democracy in Danger?” — stated that President Rodrigo Duterte is known for his war on drugs.
Cayetano said the documentary was misleading and failed to show that the President’s war on drugs actually made the country “safer, healthier, and more prosperous.”
“It fails to mention that the strategy is a diversified and community-based approach that includes enforcement, rehabilitation, and reintegration,” he said.
“The episode also makes little mention of the sheer magnitude of the drug problem in the Philippines, the enormous damage to millions of families caused by addiction, and the fact that police are under strict orders to follow the law in the conduct of our campaign against illegal drugs,” he added.
The Foreign Affairs secretary also accused the BBC of being “one-sided” in reporting the cases of Senator Leila de Lima, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, all staunch critics of the President.
De Lima has been detained since 2017 for alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison. Duterte revoked the amnesty granted to Trillanes and ordered his arrest. Sereno was ousted as her appointment as Chief Justice was nullified following a quo warranto petition that Solicitor General Jose Calida filed.
Cayetano said that all three critics of the President had been “given and continue to be given their day in court.”
“The rule of law has been upheld in all three cases. They are not, as the report unfairly alleges, victims of any crackdown on the political opposition,” Cayetano said.
He asserted that all three critics remain free to criticize the President and his administration.
Cayetano denied that the media in the Philippines is being persecuted. He insisted that the press is “anything but inhibited in the Philippines.”
He also asserted that the President continues to enjoy the trust and support of Filipinos, citing the recent Pulse Asia poll and the Social Weather Stations’ Survey that measures the trust and satisfaction rating of the President and his war on drugs.
Cayetano called on the BBC to present a more accurate and objective picture of the Duterte administration for its audience can make its own assessment on the democracy in the country.
“In the interest of fair and objective reporting, therefore, we urge the BBC to present an accurate and balanced view of issues about the Philippines in the future so that its audience can make its own assessment of the health of our democracy,” he said. /ee