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Mangahas to Duterte: Don’t blame us, blame your office

By CONG B. CORRALES
Associate Editor .

THE Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism took exception on President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech in Iloilo last Saturday.

In an emailed statement, PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas said they have not singled out the President with their investigative report.

“For the record, PCIJ has reported on the wealth and the controversies that had hounded of all five presidents before him — Benigno S. Aquino III, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, Fidel V. Ramos, and Corazon C. Aquino,” Mangahas said.

On Saturday, Duterte cursed out PCIJ for its three-part report, “The Dutertes: Wealth Reveal and Riddles.”

Makita mo ‘yung utak ng mga investigative journalism kaya… Pera-pera lang. Binabayaran ‘yan kung gano’n kalaki. Pati nu’ng lawyering ko… “Putang-ina ninyo. Hoy, ‘yung mga dilaw, all the time I was with my mother. Maski na noong mayor na ako, ang nagpapakain sa akin nanay ko. ‘Yung nanay ko ang may pera. ‘Yun ang nanay ko nag-iwan ng pera sa amin. Pero kung magkano, eh bakit sabihin ko sa inyo,” Mangahas quoted Duterte as saying.

Mangahas said they exerted best effort to get the sides of Duterte, daughter Sara and son Paolo by sending requests for comments and possible interviews via courier, fax, and email.

“We sent them two batches of request letters in October 2018 and in January 2019. PCIJ had also secured authentication as certified true copies of the corporate documents and the asset records that the President had filed since 1998, and Sara and Paolo, since 2007,” said Mangahas.

She said they wished for the Dutertes to offer clear, direct, straightforward replies to their queries.

“Instead of blaming PCIJ for the report. Mr Duterte should turn his attention at his deputies, notably Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, for the failure of Office of the President to attend to PCIJ’s request letters, over the last five months,” Mangahas said.

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