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Three years later

Herbie Gomez .

IN 2016, a Rappler correspondent here echoed what Teddy Locsin wrote in his “Teditorial”: “If we dont take chance of this man’s leadership, we would miss our last chance for real change.” Locsin was, of course, referring to President Duterte who would later make him Foreign Affairs secretary.

Three years ago, correspondent Bobby Lagsa was among those who wittingly or unwittingly spewed out remarks, the type of which sparked coffee shop-like debates with his media colleagues or even online. He was among those who shared on his Facebook page pro-Duterte links to spurious websites at a time when social media was starting to be weaponized. Back then, he shared memes from now Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol’s page or from an FB page called “Duterte is my President.” He was someone who may have thought at that time that an article about the supposed endorsement of Duterte’s presidential bid by a famous actress like Kristine Hermosa was news, and worth the click and share.

Today, three years later, I join those who condemn the act of the staff of the Media Accreditation Relations Office (Maro) and Presidential Security Group (PSG) to drive Lagsa away from a political rally at the University of Science and Technology. He was there merely to cover the March 24 PDP-Laban rally graced by Duterte. It was not the first time for Lagsa to get barred from covering a Duterte event just because of his Rappler ID.

How dare the President’s men treat a reporter that way! How dare they do something like that to a citizen who, by all indications, was one of the 16,601,997 or 39.01 percent of the Filipino voters who made Duterte’s rise to power possible!

In 2016, Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Antonio Ablon lambasted journalists and called them names because of how they reported how Duterte likened himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as the President announced that he would be happy to exterminate millions of drug users and peddlers in the country. Bishop Ablon posted that the response of the US defense chief on the report by journalist Manny Mogato was “troubling because you (US official) did not even bother to check the way Filipino journalists misleadingly reported the news.”

Ablon posted on his FB page: “Mga gago! Imperialism plus bobong journalists = western domination.”

Three years later, Lagsa would write a story for Rappler that quoted Bishop Ablon as saying that Duterte was systematically destroying religious groups and workers by destroying the image of the Church. Ablon would also find himself being red-tagged and harassed by state forces.

All I can say is, Bishop Ablon was not among the millions of Filipino voters (a 60.99-percent majority as a matter of fact) who did not vote for Duterte in 2016. How dare they do this to a bishop who was among those who enabled Duterte to rise to power!

I think they’ve been had. Pastilan.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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