Among those still hanging on to the idea that Rappler is a legitimate, truthful and unbiased news outlet, it is common knowledge that Pia Ranada is one of its “star reporters” covering President Duterte.
Ranada is known for her leading questions during the president’s press conferences or ambush interviews. Not that there’s anything wrong with probing questions. In fact, that’s a quality of a good reporter.
But we also know that Duterte is no ordinary interviewee. He is not beholden to the kind of diplomacy most politicians — including presidents (well, maybe not US President Trump) — display during public encounters with the press.
This “love-hate” relationship between Duterte and Ranada has seen the two challenging each other and engaging in impromptu debate (like in the video above.)
But if there is one thing that Filipinos and the rest of the world can learn from the constant back-and-forth between Duterte and Ranada is that unlike the accusations hurled against the president, he is definitely not a dictator.
Despite his controversial rhetoric and frequent use of hyperbole, despite his public condemnations of news media like ABS-CBN and the Inquirer, despite his snark remarks hurled at Ranada, he understands the true meaning of freedom, especially everyone’s constitutional right to free speech.
One of Duterte’s now famous quotes is: “I may not agree to what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”
At the very least, the news media should be thankful they can still practice their chosen profession without any fear of suppression or retaliation.