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Duterte tells media: I am not your enemy

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This is one Christmas “truce” between two “adversaries” that succeeded, with singing and dancing.

President Duterte sang and danced before members of the Malacañang Press Corps on Tuesday night, Dec. 12, as he assured the media that he was “not their enemy.”

After having dinner, the President sang Richard Harris’ “MacArthur Park,” Barbara Streisand’s “Send in the Clowns,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” and Visayan classics “Usahay” and “Matud Nila.”

He also sang “Ikaw,” which he interpreted at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit gala dinner in November upon the request of US President Donald Trump.

Mr. Duterte’s favorite was Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” which he said helped comfort him when his mother died.

The President told reporters, photojournalists and cameramen who attended the party in Malacañang’s Heroes Hall not to mind his “adversarial” relationship with the media. 

 

Quest for truth

“I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth there, that is your business, not mine. At the end of the day, it’s not my property. It’s just public interest foremost and I think ... the only standard is public interest,” he said.

“We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here, or else I would not be inviting you to my place,” he added.

Taking the cue from their boss, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also showed their singing chops.

After singing, the President hit the dance floor, taking a few turns with PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy to the tune of Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

“It’s Christmas time. I think everybody is disposed to enjoy. Never mind about our relationship. It’s always adversarial,” Mr. Duterte said.

 

His concept of truth

The President, whose administration had been accused of maintaining social media trolls that go after critical journalists, then turned philosophical about his concept of the truth.

“If your truth is not my truth and everybody’s truth, so we fight with each other and truth to ... you know. We cannot just have the truth in one sentence explanation or even an accepted explanation,” the President said.

“I have been a politician for a long time ... nothing satisfies the truth for the truth hungers for more ... I said there’s always two sides of the coin - your truth, my truth and the public perception,” he added.

But if there were disagreements, the President said that came with his job and that of the media.

“If we find ourselves in disagreement, that is part of our territory ... journalism and public service,” he said.

 

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