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Hell hath no fury: Lady senators slap down Duterte after attack on the press

Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros have hit back at the president after his expletive-filled attack on the media

Two lady senators have defended the media after President Duterte’s latest expletive-filled tirade accusing them of bias.

As we reported yesterday, the president singled out TV channel ABS-CBN and newspaper The Inquirer for his fury, accusing them of being the tools of powerful elites. (Read more here)

In a hand-written note sent from her prison cell, Senator Leila de Lima said: “He blames everybody else except himself. His gross intolerance to dissent and criticisms is undoubtedly among the top qualities of this president.”

De Lima also said that the president’s “toxic language” had reached a “seeming apex”.

“Indeed, as today’s Inquirer editorial puts it, he has lost the argument. And I go further — he has lost his mind (and for quite a while already),” she added.

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Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was no longer surprised by Duterte’s latest attacks on the media, the European Union and the Church, noting how his administration had “embraced profanity, misogyny and the lack of overall decency as political strategies to attack and silence its critics”.

Yesterday the president warned two media outlets to beware of “karma”

“It is inconsistent and guided by a double standard. The president can rant and curse at the EU but can’t do the same to China, which has not only fortified its presence in the West Philippine Sea but is also now present at Benham Rise.

“President Duterte can lambast several media outfits as controlled by oligarchs but is sheepish towards the Marcoses, who during Martial Law created their own oligarchy. The president is tough on poor drug dependents but can’t muster the same tough stance against big-time drug lords like Peter Lim.”

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She said Duterte’s profanity, sexist rhetoric and double standards should not be mistaken for authenticity while strong leadership and political will should not also be confused with “inane rants sprinkled with cuss words and machismo”.

“When the president’s language degrades and objectifies women, is a virtual threat to the freedom of the press and severely undermines our foreign policy framework, it becomes unacceptable. It must not be tolerated. It must be confronted and resisted.

“Amid these trying times, I urge my friends in the media to continue to exercise their journalistic rights.

“I also urge our friends in the international community to continue to extend their solidarity to us.

“Lastly, I call on my fellow women to continue the resistance against the culture and language of killing, misogyny and sexism in the country.”

“We will not be intimidated.”