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    Sunday, August 6, 2017

    READ: Lawyer's advice to "Clueless Media People" like Doris Bigonia

    Recently, ABS-CBN’s reporter Doris Bigornia had a chance to interview President Rodrigo Duterte. Wanting to maximize the rare opportunity, Doris asked controversial questions to the president which, in turn, was answered with controversial responses. One of which is a follow-up question regarding the recent raid conducted by the government forces which killed Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 16 others. 

    The conversation ran this way:

    Doris Bigornia: Sir, kelan ho uli may matumba na mayor? 
    PRRD: Depende na lang sa intriga mo. Kung saan mas marami.

    The said response of President Duterte, theoretically, would automatically trigger several journalists to write not-so-pleasing articles about the president. So far, these articles are intended to paint president Duterte black by highlighting certain portion of the president’s statements and use it both as bait and as an instrument to vilify the good intentions of the President.

    With utmost desire to address the so-called issue concerning President Duterte, Trixie Cruz-Angeles-a practicing attorney and a distinguished critic pro-administration, published an open letter addressed to all journalists, especially those who always fall a prey to Duterte’s so-called “word-swordplay”.

    “Dear Clueless Media People who try to pull a fast one. Rodrigo Duterte was a bad ass prosecutor, a litigator. He tried cases in court, faced criminals, tangled with recalcitrant witnesses and lying accused and accusers. That's the equivalent of bloody trench warfare or close quarters combat. When conducting direct or cross examination, he would never have asked a question he did not already know the answer to,” Cruz-Angeles initiated.

    The lawyer also pointed out tactical and wit-driven strategy.

    According to Cruz-Angeles, President Duterte is a seasoned prosecutor and for that reason, journalists would usually fall into his so-called “traps”.

    “The man is sharp and trained. He chooses his words. He reads conditions and situations. He knows when he will survive a tasteless joke. He knows how to use the doublespeak using legal terms interspersed in layman's language so that journalists fall into his carefully laid traps.”

    To illustrate and justify her claims, Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles cited one controversial statement given by Duterte which was feasted over by the media and was thereby used as an instrument to their black propaganda against the president.

    “He says, ‘I will kill you if you destroy my country.’ Note: 
    1. The "you" is not identified. Therefore it cannot be considered a threat that is punishable as a crime. 
    2. The "if" lays a condition. It’s a general condition that implies that he will be responding in defense of his country or a person. Which means he lay down an exculpatory circumstance. 
    3. He did not direct his remarks at any person or agency. No person can feel alluded. No case can be made for inciting or compelling any person to commit a crime on his behalf,” Cruz-Angeles explained.

    “The man has got game. So much so that lawyers need to take a second to read his intentions into what he just said. Journalists unfamiliar with the word-swordplay in court will find themselves out of their league. Writers make a living with words, yes. But so do lawyers,” Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles ended.

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