JEERS TO the Manila Bulletin and InterAksyon.com for failing to verify the truth of a statement by Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Ma. Sison allegedly endorsing a political candidate.
In the August 30 InterAksyon report “Joma backs Duterte; mayor says there’s ’50-50′ chance he’ll run for president” and in the August 31 Bulletin report “CPP’s Joma backs Duterte” (both reports were outsourced from the Philippine News Agency [PNA]), it was reported that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said that Sison, who is in exile in the Netherlands, had officially endorsed him for the 2016 presidential elections.
In the Run Duterte Run Caravan held in Davao City on August 28, the Davao City mayor shared a voice clip allegedly sent to him by Sison upon learning that Duterte was on his way to a rally organized by his supporters.
The reports said that in his message, Sison said that Duterte has the “integrity, strength of character and political will for good.” The reports also quoted Sison’s statement in the voice clip further: “Sa tingin ko bukas naman siya sa development ng Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng Filipino-owned industrialization and land reform at kumbinsido ako na makabayan siya at ipagtatanggol niya ang pambansang soberenhiya at integridad ng teritoryo nga Pilipinas (I can see he is open to the development of the Philippines through Filipino-owned industrialization and land reform and I am convinced he is a nationalist and will defend the sovereignty and integrity of the Philippines).”
Based on this statement in the voice clip, it is clear that Sison did not say that he was endorsing Duterte for the presidency. Neither the Bulletin nor InterAksyon made any effort to confirm Sison’s alleged endorsement and only relied on the original PNA report.
On August 31, Sison clarified in his Facebook account that it was not possible for him to endorse Duterte’s presidential candidacy because the latter has not yet officially decided to run for the position.
He also said that he was interviewed in Utrecht, the Netherlands several months ago by Davao-based journalist Patmei Bello Ruivivar who asked him on video “What do you think of Duterte as a presidential candidate?” Sison said that he only answered in the following manner: “He is highly qualified. He has integrity and a strong character and is determined to do good for the country.”