Updated 13:45 PM PHT Thu, February 9, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the media Wednesday for reporting on his alleged hidden wealth during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Kita naman niyo yung election," Duterte said in a speech at the National Housing Authority Summit. "Tingnan mo anong pinokus ng mga TV, ABS-CBN. Naniwala sila sa basura (na) ₱211 million."
[Translation: Look at the election season. Look at what TV networks like ABS-CBN focused on. They believed the rubbish claim about the ₱211 million.]
"Kaya nung nanalo ako, sinabi ko sa AMLC (Anti Money Laundering Council), p***ngina kayo, sisibakin ko kayong lahat," Duterte added. "Bakit hindi ninyo sinabi ang totoo sa tao?"
[Translation: That's why when I won as President, I told the members of AMLC that I'd fire you all, you sons of whores. Why aren't you telling people the truth?]
Duterte's statement stems from a claim by then vice presidential candidate and now Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that he had documents allegedly showing billions of pesos in hidden wealth linked to Duterte and his daughter, Sara.
Trillanes said ₱211 million was allegedly deposited in BPI Julia Vargas and was not declared in Duterte's 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.
During the campaign, Duterte revealed his bank records, which showed two BPI accounts with ₱17,000 and around ₱24,000.
The AMLC and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas decided not to investigate the matter further.
As a result, Duterte said in his speech that people should be wary of what the media report.
"Kaya kayo, huwag kayong masyadong maniwala diyan (sa media)," he said. "Sabi nga ni Trump eh, 'dishonest.'"
[Translation: You people should not believe the media so much. As Trump said, they're "dishonest."]
Trump and 'fake news'
Duterte echoed claims by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called the media "dishonest" in reporting about his presidential campaign and his administration.
Trump likewise branded CNN as "fake news," which his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway apologized for last month.
Meanwhile, Trump's deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka said the White House will continue using the term "fake news" until the media understands that their "monumental desire" to attack Trump is wrong.
"There is a monumental desire on behalf of the majority of the media, not just the pollsters, the majority of the media to attack a duly elected President in the second week of his term," Gorka, a former Breitbart editor, told U.S. syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved.
"That's how unhealthy the situation is and until the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, 'fake news,'" he added.
Media: Stop blaming us for controversy
Last month, the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) hit Communications Secretary and former TV5 journalist Martin Andanar for accusing the media of making misleading reports on Duterte's statement on martial law.
"We are disturbed and appalled by the propensity of the officials of this administration to blame the media whenever the inflammatory statements of the president stir controversy or draw flak," the MPC said in a statement. "This trend should stop as it would not contribute to the elevation of the level of public discourse."
The group said the media merely paraphrases or translates Duterte's remarks and that officials should read "entire news stories, not just the heads or titles, to get a better picture of the media's coverage of the President."
The group also underscored the role of media in serving the public and defending democracy.
"The media has no obligation to please or satisfy its sources because its loyalty is to the citizens, those who will be affected by the actions of people who are far more powerful than them," the MPC said.
In addition, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines issued a December 2016 statement telling the President that he has a duty to speak clearly to the public.
"Seryoso po kami sa aming gawain at tungkulin naming ituring na seryoso at iulat [nang] tapat ang anumang namumutawi sa bibig ng Pangulo," it said. "Huwag po ninyong baliktarin ang kaayusan ng pananagutang maging malinaw, Mr. President."
[Translation: We are serious in our duty to seriously and truthfully report whatever comes out of the President's mouth. Please do not skirt your duty to be clear, Mr. President.]