Duterte warns Tatad: There's a borderline between press freedom and rudeness

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte had some choice words for Francisco "Kit" Tatad, who had recently written about the President's health in his newspaper column.

"Ikaw, Tatad, there's a border between press freedom and pambabastos ng tao. Pag una kitang nakita, iwasan mo ko, p******** sasampalin kita," Duterte said in a campaign rally for the Senatorial bets of the PDP-Laban party, which the President chairs.

[Translation: Tatad, there's a border between press freedom and demeaning a person. If I see you first, you better avoid me, because ***** I will slap you.]

Duterte's words to the journalist and former Senator did not end there; he even attacked the virility of Tatad.

"Yang kantiyaw mo parang bastos na. Gusto mo talagang subukan kung meron pa kami o wala? May asawa ka? Pahiram mo sa akin. P******** ka," he added.

[Translation: That joke of yours seems to have gotten rude. Do you really want to test if we still have it or not? Do you have a wife? Let me borrow her, you ***********.]

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Friday explained Duterte was upset over the false and libelous news from coming from Tatad.

"It’s just hyperbole. Just to dramatize that he’s still virile at this stage. And he’s pissed off. He’s pissed off with the kind of false news. 'Yan ang libelous, kita mo ‘di naman siya nagdedemanda," he said in a media briefing.

Tatad, in an opinion piece written on February 11, claimed that two sources had told him that the President underwent a kidney transplant.

He had also written other articles questioning the President's health and political decisions.

Duterte's comments come on the heels of the arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa for alleged libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 -- a move that critics of the President's say intends to intimidate journalists and attack press freedom.

However, the President said he did not know about her arrest.

"Hindi ko talaga alam yan. (I don't know about it.) I cannot say anything, I have yet to read.. I cannot give you an opinion," Duterte said in an ambush interview after the campaign rally.

READ: Duterte washes hands off Maria Ressa's arrest