MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte called Rappler CEO Maria Ressa a “fraud,” even threatening the veteran journalist that she would someday have a taste of her own medicine.
“Ressa is a fraud. Believe me. Give us time. [It’s] too early for you to enjoy your awards. You are a fraud. We are just compiling [information] at this stage and someday in bold letters, we will show your incongruity,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in a speech aired early Wednesday.
The President issued the statement as he defended his signing of the anti-terrorism law, which many fear could be used as a state weapon against dissent.
Duterte said he had never filed any complaint against journalists for criticizing him even during his stint as Davao City mayor.
And without mentioning anyone, he warned that: “One of these days, we will also judge you in the same way and with more ferocity. And it will come, it will come… Just be careful.”
“I have some folders given to me all throughout the years. You will have a dose of your own medicine one of these days. I’m not threatening you. Go ahead and expose anything about corruption in this government. As I said, if that’s big, I will resign,” he added.
Ressa and her news site have been on the receiving end of a series of cases and probes after publishing stories critical of Duterte’s policies, including his brutal drug war that has killed thousands of drug suspects.
The award-winning former CNN journalist and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. were recently convicted for cyberlibel.
Ressa said the case was politically motivated, an accusation the government repeatedly denied.
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