A GOVERNMENT official who issues bombastic statements that his agency can and is ready to tell the military to round people up and throw them in jail should not say, when chastised by public opinion, that he was misquoted, taken out of context, or that he was the victim of spin.
That Commission on Elections Commissioner Rey Bulay is now claiming that stories about his supposed threat are potentially libelous is also a threat, even if he may couch it as legal advice or as an expression of his hurt feelings.
Too often, government officials have issued outrageous and nonsensical statements only to later blame the media for reporting them. In their attempt to clear themselves, they insult the intelligence of the press and of the public that we serve and cast doubt on the media as an institution.
Nobody forced Bulay to say that the Comelec “would not hesitate to call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is now under Comelec control” on people who air concerns and doubts about the poll body and have the military “round [them] up and have [them] jailed.”
He cannot now play the victim and force the media to agree that he never said what he actually did.
(Statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, 27 April 2022)