COMMENTARY: Favorite Broadcast Journalist Captures the Heart of Duterte

People probably wonder why no male news anchor from the mainstream media conducted the one-on-one live interview with Duterte last Thursday, December 29, 2016.

Could it be the bosses of these news organizations thought female news anchor could elicit from Duterte sizzling tabloid-like sound bites more than their male counterpart, which could give their organization a competitive advantage?

It turned out, however, no new tabloid-like earth-shaking revelation unfolded. Most of Duterte’s statements were rehashed from all of his previous speeches. And that Duterte didn’t veer away that much from his script from one lady news anchor to the next; perceptively knowing the trend of their questionnaire anyway.

Jessica Soho of GMA probably had heard many times of his statements, so that she just looked at her notes while Duterte talks. Duterte said, “You’re not listening.” Soho apologized.

Some lady news anchor also interrupted Duterte’s responses in midstream and went on to next issue as if rushing to finish off their quota in due time.

The menu that the six lady news anchors never missed asking was the collateral damage of Duterte’s war on drugs. They phrased their question, the subtext, and tenor of which, shoot bullets at Duterte’s heart. They probably hope for a heartfelt response and contrition. Riding on that would be a blessing for Duterte’s detractors, as they can build concessions that his method of combating drugs is wrong and would go nowhere.

That is, if Duterte is contrite. But he didn’t. He said instead, a callous, matter of fact, “Sorry” for the casualties of war. Then he explained his rationale.

Day 1 of his presidency, he declared war on drugs. Of course, there would be collateral damage. Duterte is more concerned on the bigger picture – the lives of the next Filipino generation. You want the killing to stop now? Then do no drugs, Duterte said.

Somehow, even Duterte’s “Sorry” has been belittled. The netizens turned it as fodder just to have something to air their ire.

Sorry, the six lady news anchors didn’t get that much desirable impact for their attempt to the much ballyhooed (EJK) issue.

Rocky Ignacio of PTV 4 is unique from among the bunch who did the one-on-one interview with Duterte.

  • For one, she had a male news anchor as her sidekick.
  • She was the only one who encouraged Duterte to share some of his light personal stories never been mentioned in his previous speeches.
  • Duterte’s spontaneity was so refreshing as Ignacio seemingly broke the barrier: They became like an instant buddy-buddy. Duterte gave the impression he didn’t want to end the interview, even though it was already late at night.

Ignacio’s male sidekick followed the pattern of the five female anchors; fishing for tabloid-like sound bites. Duterte parroted disinterested reply.

Duterte seemed sympathetic to Ignacio because compared to his other interviewee, she is the least known. Probably, Duterte wished her to shine, so he gave her a scoop. He told her of his sojourns in Malacanang attired in his signature jeans unworthy of the palace. This happened during the term of the three previous Presidents.

Ignacio prodded Duterte just like an old friend she never met for the longest time. Their encounter seemed not anymore between the President and a newscaster. They were as if in equal footing enjoying their exchanges of banter.