MANILA – Malacañang defended Thursday the airing of President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with the executives of his ruling political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), on state-run People’s Television Network (PTV-4) and other government-operated social media accounts.
The “political personality” of Duterte, who chairs PDP-Laban, could not be separated from his official duties as the country’s chief executive, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Roque issued the statement, when asked if the government is allowed to use public resources for partisan political activities.
“Well, iiwan ko na po iyang issue na iyan kung ano ang sinasabi ninyong partisan activities (I will leave to you the issue of partisan activities that you are saying). Pero (But) the President has always been chairman of PDP-Laban and there’s no way to separate the political personality of the President from his functions because halal nga po siya ng taumbayan (he is elected by the people),” Roque said.
Roque also said Duterte’s position is “principally political.”
On Wednesday, PTV-4 aired the taped meeting of Duterte with PDP-Laban executives and other government officials held at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday.
During the meeting, members of the PDP-Laban renewed their call on Duterte to run for vice president in 2022.
Duterte, in turn, said he is “sold to the idea” of joining the vice presidential race next year.
He added that he is “seriously thinking” of accepting the PDP-Laban’s appeal for him to seek the second top post in the country.
Okay to cover ‘newsworthy’ events
Roque said PTV-4 and other state media can cover “newsworthy” events since they are still considered a “news agency.”
He issued the statement, when asked if the Palace would also allow PTV-4 to air meetings of the opposition party, the Liberal Party (LP), and other opposition groups.
An example of a “newsworthy” event covered by PTV-4, Roque said, is the June 26 burial of former president Benigno Aquino III who passed away on June 24 at the age of 61.
“Ang alam ko po, whenever its newsworthy, it’s covered. Kasi kung hindi po mai-scoop naman sila (Because if [state media] will not do that, they will fail to do their duties). PTV is still a news agency,” Roque said. (PNA)