Shahani worries about Duterte shutting up media
URDANETA CITY – Former Senator Leticia Shahani expressed apprehensions about the media being told to “shut up” if Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidency.
“If he can say ‘shut your mouths’ to two powerful countries’ ambassadors, what won’t stop him from saying shut up to the media” if they write something he would find unfavorable to him?” Shahani told reporters here.
Duterte was quoted as saying shut up to Ambassadors Amanda Gorely of Australia and Philip Goldberg of the United States when they issued statements criticizing his remarks on the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in 1989.
Duterte, shown by surveys as leading the presidential race, seemed to have captured the voters’ interest through his strong stand against criminality and drugs, and as someone who would not hesitate to kill even his own son if he finds him to be using illegal drugs.
“Do we really need that? Do we need oppression, suppression, dictatorship? That is what Filipinos has to ask, yong kamay na bakal na ano? What about the media? Do you want that? Will Duterte be attacking press? What if he says shut up all of you? If he can say it to the ambassador, why cant he can say it to the media?,” Shahani said.
“ I don’t want to quarrel but you are electing a president of the Republic of the Philippines, not a dictatorship of the Philippines,” she added.
She said under a dictatorship, “you can arrest somebody in the midnight and say you have the authority.”
“Yan ang nakakatakot. Magulo and democracy I grant it. But who wants a kamay na bakal na wala kang karapatan? Yan ang isipin natin. Akala natin ang ganda ng buhay na may kamay na bakal. No, I’m for free speech, liberty and freedom but I support discipline,” Shahani said.
Shahani, the ambassador to Australia from 1981 to 1986, said Duterte’s remarks on the rape and murder of the missionary showed how “rude” and “crude” Duterte was.
“Naturally the (Australian) ambassador has the right to (comment) as she was missionary of Australian citizenship. The ambassador has the right to defend his nationals and said what happened was no joke. But Duterte said shut up which meant he did like but that was the duty of the ambassador and he was doing his job,” Shahani said.
She also said if she was in another country and something happens, “we expect the embassy for come to my rescue (and) that is the job of the ambassador.”
“In diplomacy, you have to be civilized,” she said.
The sister of former President Fidel Ramos also said Duterte’s remarks showed his position on women so “nakakahiya (its shameful) because after all, he could be our chief diplomat and Australia is one of our major allies.”
She clarified that she was for independent policy “but am also for having allies and Australia is a neighbor, an ally, a democracy and there are plenty of Filipinos there.”
A known feminist, Shahani said he objects vehemently about what Duterte said about the rape and murder of the Australian missionary.
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