OZAMIZ CITY – In an ambush interview on Friday, House Speaker Cayetano recognized and defended the vital role of the media in Philippine democracy while also acknowledging the “problems” caused by irresponsible media reporting.
“Yes, maraming problema sa media pero mas malaking problema kung walang media,” the House Leader told reporters.
“So doon na po tayo sa healthy yung ating democracy pero may mga problema na kailangan nating hanapan ng solusyon,” Speaker Cayetano said.
Speaker Cayetano also said that he was in favor of decriminalizing libel in order to promote greater press freedom and discourage harassment of media.
“Ako, personally i’m for the decriminalization of libel para hindi mahirapan but I’m also for responsible reporting kasi ang katotohanan din talaga at madalas biktima rin ang House of Representatives,” he said.
His comments come on the heel of what seems to be campaigns of misinformation by certain media sources regarding the 2020 National Budget. Speaker Cayetano acknowledged these problems and said they need to be addressed. He referenced in particular reports from last week that House leaders proposed to allocate P1.5 B to each Deputy Speaker and P700 M to each congressman. Not only did the reporting of these “rumors” damage the reputation of the House, they also discredited the hard work of the 18th Congress to pass the budget nearly as it was submitted to them by President Duterte.
“Fake news po iyon walang basehan talaga iyon, walang problema kung totoo at kung mayroon kaming pang-aabuso you call as out at trabaho ninyo iyan, but ako ito ang iiwanan ko sa inyo,” Speaker Cayetano said, referring to the alleged bloated House budget.