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President-Elect of Philippines: Most Murdered Journalists Deserved to Die


2003, Philippine radio commentator Jun Pala — an outspoken critic of Rodrigo Duterte, the then-mayor of Davao — was shot and killed by gunmen on a motorcycle in the southern island city.

On Tuesday, Duterte, who is now president-elect of the country, said Pala “deserved it.”

Duterte was asked at press conference in his hometown how he would better protect journalists in the wake of another journalist murder in Manila last week. Alex Balcoba, a veteran crime reporter, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in front of his family’s watch repair shop.

Duterte responded by saying dishonest reporters deserved to die.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said. “The example here is Pala. I do not want to diminish his memory but he was a rotten son of a bitch.”

Journalists face immense risk reporting in the Philippines, where at least 174 of them have been killed over the last three decades, including more than 30 who were murdered in a single incident in 2009. But Duterte simply isn’t sympathetic.

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