Jiggy Manicad slammed for lying about the state of press freedom in the Philippines

By Media Newser Philippines | Thursday, January 31, 2019

Screenshot: One News
Jiggy Manicad sparked widespread backlash after suggesting in an interview that the press freedom in the country is not under attack under the Duterte administration.

Appearing on One News' The Chiefs Monday, the former GMA News anchor said that the cases filed by the Philippine government against Rappler have basis as the online news website, according to him, violated the constitution.

"I think may basis 'yung government to say na may foreign fund na pumasok sa Rappler, to be honest about it. And it's a violation of the constitution. 'Yun ang nakikitang punto ng pamahalaan," Manicad said. "Now, if it's an attack against press freedom, ang tanong ko is, sino ba 'yung unang nag-attack? Politicized ba ang Rappler? Are they telling the stories na objectively? 'Yun 'yung mga basis ko na hindi ko pa na-explore."

For Manicad, who is now running for senator under Sara Duterte's Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the Rappler team's reporting was the underlying reason for their legal troubles, saying: "I think it's a matter of Rappler handling 'yung issue. Ngayon, because of that handling, may isang nagalit at pinaimbestigahan. So does it really translate to an attack to press freedom? Bakit naman 'yung ibang network hindi naman ganun?"

Online, Philippines Graphic Magazine's editor-in-chief Joel Pablo Salud took the former Kapuso newsman to task, writing in a Facebook post: "Hijo, what is your idea of being under attack? Members of the media getting gunned down in the line of duty? If so, let me remind you that in the first two years of the Duterte administration, 12 members of the media have been killed."

"What about harassment? Intimidation? Perfect words to describe what is going on behind the scenes with Rappler, Inquirer, Bulatlat and ABS-CBN--all critical of the Duterte presidency. I wouldn't call it a party as there are only bad spirits being served. So, if not press freedom, then what is under attack? Surely not the coffee press," Salud added.

Rappler's managing editor Glenda Gloria also posted a response on her Facebook account, writing: “My problem with Jiggy Manicad is not his point of view. It's his distorted sense of reality, his utter indifference to facts, his lack of basic research, and the gall to put all of that on display.”

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, an alliance of tertiary student publications, meanwhile, issued a searing statement, which reads in part:

"If senator-wannabe Jiggy Manicad must know, tyrants and those who opt to side with them can never silence the alagad ng midya. The Philippine press has fearlessly exposed the ills of the society and will unceasingly do so under the fascist and corrupt Duterte regime.

"After all, we no longer need an additional senator in the government who will ultimately and effectively serve the status quo."

On Twitter, Manicad was also roasted by netizens, with some calling him a disgrace to the journalism profession. Read some of the tweets below:

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