No apology from Mocha? Duterte says he respects her right to free speech
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is not angry at Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for not apologizing to Kris Aquino despite an order for her to do so.
Duterte, on Thursday, June 7, said this is because he respects her right to freedom of speech. (WATCH: 'I'm ready for you. I don't know if you're ready for me' – Kris Aquino to Mocha Uson)
"As I respect the opposition, I must also respect my camp. She has invoked the right of free expression," he said during a press conference in Cebu.
"Once mag invoke ka nang ganoon, wala akong magawa (Once you invoke that, I can't do anything).... It's your right to criticize me," added Duterte.
Uson had earlier refused to say sorry to influential media personality Aquino even if Duterte himself, through his top aide Bong Go, issued an apology. (READ: Here's Kris Aquino's message to Bong Go on Mocha Uson)
Duterte said he had apologized because Uson "works for me in Malacañang."
The President said the freedom to speak out is inviolable because it is enshrined in the Constitution.
"Who am I now to say huwag (don't)? I do not control my – She has invoked a sacred right. That's guaranteed under the Constitution," said Duterte.
Aquino, in response to Uson's refusal to apologize, had earlier appealed to Go saying he alone could do what she asked. But she did not elaborate.
While Duterte claims he considers the right to free speech as "sacred," he has also freely insulted media groups and journalists, especially those critical of his administration.
He has verbally attacked the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN, calling them biased. He has also called Rappler a "fake news outlet" and has banned its reporters from entering Malacañang and covering any of his events. – Rappler.com