MANILA – The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines issued the following statement on Monday, attributed to Atty. Jo Clemente, Acting Chair and Dabet Panelo, Secretary-general:
In his November 17 column (http://www.manilatimes.net/unpatriotic-filipino-political-partisans-badmouth-country-foreign-papers/363375/), Rigoberto Tiglao made a lot of fictitious assertions about what he calls “partisan writers” who “badmouth the country” in foreign publications and lamenting how “they reflect the fact that nationalism in this country has all but vanished.”
It is fitting to simply ignore Tiglao and his inanities except that, in this instance, he hurls accusations that could very well put people’s – including colleagues’ – lives in danger.
Tiglao first targets Carlos Conde, Philippine researcher of Human Rights Watch, who comes from a long distinguished journalism career, including a stint as correspondent for the New York Times and the Washington Post, who has long railed against Tiglao’s current principal, President Rodrigo Duterte, for the allegedly murderous bent of his anti-criminality campaigns since he was mayor of Davao City.
We take exception to Tiglao’s reference to Mr. Conde’s previous association with alternative media outfit bulatlat.com, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. In one of the shoddiest journalistic practices, he accuses Bulatlat of being “run by Communist Party of the Philippines propaganda cadres and then appends the word “allegedly” to make it appear he is merely quoting someone else. He also makes too much of Conde’s past engagements with the well-respected PCIJ and CMFR, which he calls “NGOs that are funded by the American National Endowment for Democracy, which have been accused as conduits for CIA funding.” Again, that “which have been accused” without attribution.
Tiglao also tried to demonize Sheila Coronel, PCIJ co-founder, as well as his fellow columnist Manolo Quezon, simply because he disagrees with them.
Going by his specious logic that mere association is enough to condemn anyone, are we then to conclude that Tiglao, with his history of service to previous and current principals, who many people consider as fascists, then make him a murderous terrorist human rights abuser? Wouldn’t that then make him, as he so cavalierly claims of people who are or have been better journalists than he can ever be, “so unpatriotic”?
In dissing so-called propagandists, Tiglao conveniently ignores the fact that he has long been one, and that of the worst kind. His accusation that Bulatlat is run by communist propagandists actually becomes hilarious coming from a former CPP cadre who betrayed their struggle and went on to become a mouthpiece to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and, now, pen assassin of Duterte.
Tiglao should know that red-baiting and slander can push people, including the staff of Bulatlat, PCIJ and CMFR, into the line of fire in a country that remains one of the deadliest for the profession.
Should anything untoward happen to any of our colleagues from the three entities slandered by Tiglao, we will hold him and his mercenary pen among the accountable.