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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Friday, April 28, 2017

Duterte's Fight vs. New York Times and Local Media: WHY?

"To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past."
RIZAL
From New York Times 
December 8,1972

MANILA, Dec. 7— In the first crackdown on the Philippine press since the lifting of martial law in January 1981, the military arrested the editor-publisher of the English-language newspaper We Forum today.

The editor-publisher, Jose Burgos Jr., and a number of staff writers, columnists and contributors were seized under a presidential order on charges of subversion and involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the Government.

We Forum, a tabloid that was established in 1976 and that appeared three times a week, had become an outlet for writers of papers closed under martial law. It was ordered closed.

In commenting on the action, Brig. Gen. Hamilton Dimaya, the Judge Advocate General, said: ''The state cannot stand timid while sinister forces are actively plotting to create an atmosphere favorable to a violent takeover of the Government.'' Action Urged in '80

General Dimaya was one of several military officials, including the Chief of Staff, Gen. Fabian Ver, and the Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, who recommended two years ago that Mr. Burgos be arrested. At that time President Ferdinand E. Marcos declined to take action.

Last August he hinted that the Government had compiled a list of subversives that included students, businessmen, clerics and journalists. The President recently began a crackdown on clerics whose activities were considered subversive under a definition made public on Monday. Four priests are now wanted by the Government.

According to a statement, an inquiry found that We Forum had become an outlet not only for rightists, leftists and religious radicals living in the Philippines but also for expatriates.

The Government said in a news release that there was evidence that We Forum had links with the Communist Party of the Philippines; the new People's Army, a Communist faction, and the Movement for a Free Philippines, based in the United States.

The objective, the report said, is to disrupt and overthrow the Philippine Government through false and libelous articles. Among those arrested with Mr. Burgos were Francisco Rodrigo, Raul Gonzales, Salvador Gonzales, Armando Malay, Tomas Boquiren, Crispin Martinez, Teddy Cecilo, Edward Burgos, Teodoro Burgos, Angel Tronqued, Joaquin Roces and Ernesto Rodriguez Jr. Also on the list were Bonifacio Gillego, who has challenged Mr. Marcos's war record in a book, and Steve Psinakis, both of whom are in the United States.

The Government has charged that Mr. Burgos and his companions were plotting to seize power by assassination, arson, bombing and other violent means.
"Let The World Condemn Duterte"

From New York Times:
April 25, 2017
A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades. The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings.

The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, filed the complaint in his own name, but he also represents two men who have publicly said they were paid members of the death squad that Mr. Duterte set up in Davao City when he was the mayor to hunt down drug dealers. After he was elected president last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively declaring an open season for police and vigilantes on drug dealers and users. In all, Mr. Sabio said in the 77-page filing, more than 9,400 people have been killed, most of them poor young men, but also bystanders, children and political opponents.

Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was “closely following” developments in the Philippines.

There are reasons why the I.C.C. might be reluctant to go after Mr. Duterte. He is enormously popular with many Filipinos, for whom narcotics are a major scourge.

The court, moreover, was created to prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes among member countries only when their national courts are unwilling or unable to do so. Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer. But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods.

And if the findings of Mr. Sabio, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and politicians, or the confessions of the former death squad members, are not enough evidence, there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters in one of his most outrageous statements (and misstating the figure for the Holocaust, which is six million).
This is a man who must be stopped.

From ABS-CBN News:
Duterte says NY Times must stop
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday lashed out at influential American newspaper the New York Times for its scathing piece that called for his condemnation, giving the paper back the message it had sent through an editorial on April 25. 
 “It’s about time their publication must also stop,” Duterte told reporters on the sidelines of a joint press conference with visiting Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah,
The globally popular newspaper had described the Filipino leader in its editorial as “a man who must be stopped.”
After a formal delivery of his remarks at the joint presser, tough-talking Duterte again unleashed invectives in a door-stop interview with reporters, calling the American publication an “a**hole.” He then went on to recount the supposed abuses committed by the United States against other nations, as he did in his past speeches.
It was the first time for Duterte himself to comment on the editorial after earlier statements by Palace officials.
READ: Palace thumbs down NYT editorial, defends Duterte drug war
READ: Panelo: NY Times editorial ‘reckless’
The New York Times issued its editorial after a complaint was filed against Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC), tagging him a mass murderer responsible for deaths of criminals and political rivals during his time as Davao City Mayor and, now, of drug suspects under his bloody war on drugs. 
The editorial piece said, the ICC should “promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings” linked to the government’s drug war.
Jude Sabio, lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato, accused Duterte and 11 government and police officials of committing crimes against humanity for the spate of deaths under the administration's drug war.
The complaint cited testimonies from Matobato, another self-confessed DDS assassin Arthur Lascañas, and various reports from human rights groups and media organizations.
“Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings – so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians,” the New York Times editorial read.
Matobato and Lascañas earlier tagged the President in DDS murders during his years as Davao City Mayor.
Duterte has given varying answers to the existence of the death squad, but the two self-confessed hitmen have maintained that the long-time city chief ordered killings of petty criminals, drug dealers, and even political enemies.
In the 77-page communication to the ICC, Sabio said Duterte had "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committed crimes against humanity, and that killing drug suspects and other criminals has become "best practice" under his administration's war on drugs.
More than 7,000 have died in Duterte's fierce anti-drug campaign, but the administration has maintained that less than half have been killed in legitimate police operations. Reuters has placed the death toll at 9,000, while the New York Times editorial piece pegged it at 9,400.
The Palace had earlier said the ICC case would not prosper. Duterte’s allies in Congress, as well as top government lawyer Jose Calida, also share the same position.
The complaint is only a possible first step in what could be a long process at the ICC. The tribunal has to first decide whether it has jurisdiction, and then rule on whether it should conduct a preliminary examination.
The New York Times piece acknowledged the ICC may only step in if it is proven that a country’s “national courts are unwilling or unable” to investigate cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
“Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer,” the opinion piece reads.
“But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods.”
The New York Times said, if the findings of Sabio and other human rights organizations are not enough, “there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words” to serve as basis. 
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter,” the newspaper quoted Duterte as saying.
Long after Duterte has gone and his most vociferous followers are footnotes in history, we will write about this terrible era of avarice, injustice & death. New York Times