MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte referred to Rappler as a "fake news outlet" as he ranted about a recent article published on the site about his aide, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
"For your information, you can stop your suspicious mind from roaming somewhere else. But since you are a fake news outlet then I am not surprised that your articles are also fake," said Duterte on Tuesday, January 16.
He was speaking at the inauguration of a new air traffic management system in Pasay City.
"Sumobra kayo (You are going overboard), you are not only throwing toilet paper, you are throwing shit at us," he continued.
Duterte began his interview with media with a defense of Go and a denial of the accusations in articles published by Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The article claimed Go had meddled in talks about the preferred supplier for the Combat Management System (CMS) of two Philippine Navy ships to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Based on documents, an official in his office arranged for a meeting with Philippine Navy personnel in charge of the selection of the CMS supplier.
Go allegedly recommended a South Korean company, Hanwha Thales, to supply the critical equipment.
"Look at your headline, is that really the work of a sensible person?" complained Duterte.
The President then vowed to fire Go the next day if Rappler can prove the claims made in the article.
"If you can find proof, I will ask Bong to resign tomorrow. Work on it tonight. Let me know tomorrow and I will fire him if he did intervene," said Duterte.
The President, however, admitted that Go's office receives reference papers and complaints, and then sends them to concerned agencies for action.
"We are just an office that receives complaints or papers for reference and we transmit them to the proper agency. We do not get any money," said Duterte. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.