On The New York Times’ August 1 Editorial

The Palace takes exception to The New York Times’ (NYT’s) August 1 editorial, entitled “In the Fight to Save the Planet, Its Defenders Are Being Killed,” where the NYT editorial board mentioned that “in 2018, 164 defenders of the land and environment were killed, with the Philippines of the brutal President Rodrigo Duterte taking over from Brazil as the deadliest place to resist rapacious developers and governments.”

The editorial of the NYT is not surprising since the newspaper has been dishing out false information and untruthful narratives on the Philippine situation under the leadership of PRRD. The American publication has not exerted the research required of responsive journalism. Neither did it conduct an in-depth independent study on such a delicate subject-matter.

The NYT has the reckless habit of relying mainly on false facts regarding this Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and the causes of murders occurring in the land areas of the country, peddled by the communist rebels and their supporting left-leaning organizations, as well as the political opposition.

On this particular issue, the NYT relied heavily on the annual report of Britain-based human rights group called Global Witness, which missed the point when it cited the Philippines as a deadly nation for land rights. Global Witness made it appear that it is the government which is to blame for the situation while failing or omitting to factor the local communist movement and armed conflicts as critical components thereof. It has not considered the fact that many of our local authorities, security forces, and even tribal leaders died protecting land rights against communist insurgents who want to control these areas. Necessarily, the President had to undertake measures to maintain peace and order in the affected localities

NYT describes PRRD as brutal. The President is not brutal. He does not allow any law enforcer to use savage methods in enforcing the law. Anyone who goes against police protocols in effecting arrest and complying with court orders are prosecuted administratively and criminally. The President is very strict in enforcing the law. No friendship, alliances or blood relationship temper nor impede this enforcement. No one is spared from the harsh application of the law.

Dura lex sed lex. Transgressors of the law are meted with punishment as provided by law bar none.

In the Duterte presidency, very unlike in the past, following the law is not an option but requires absolute obedience to it. Either one obeys the law or he disobeys and he suffers the consequence of the disobedience.

The governance of the President is based on his constitutional duty to serve and protect the Filipino people. No force on earth nor the baseless condemnation from the outside world will chain or halt this President from performing the constitutional command of protecting the nation and preserving the Republic.

He will continue to do it with passion, dedication, integrity, courage and zeal against the enemies of the state, as well as the purveyors of falsities, and those who dare assault the country’s sovereignty, regardless of the risk and cost to his life, liberty, honor and to his presidency.

Salvador S. Panelo

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel

& Presidential Spokesperson

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