Critic of President Dutere and his war on drugs Agnes Callamard is in the country to give a speech at the University of the Philippines about the war on drugs. Shenanigans ensued immediately upon her arrival.
Hours after the arrival of Agnes Callamard in the Philippines, a paragraph accusing her of being "a highly paid consultant of the Liberal Party of the Philippines dedicated into overthrowing one of the best President (Duterte) the country has ever had" (sic) appeared on her Wikipedia page.
Who did it? WHO CARES!?
Duterte supporters will say the Liberals did it to discredit them. Liberals will say Duterte supporters did it because they are intellectually dishonest.
Tis merely a symptom of the political disunity which has sharply divided the Philippines. Everyone is a loser in this battle.
More important are remarks said by Salvador Panelo, Chief legal advisor to Duterte.
“She just cannot come here and read newspaper reports and hear the talks of some critics and watch some videos and make a conclusion that there is something wrong the way this government is doing its job,” Panelo told reporters in an interview.“First, how did she know that that’s the way the drug operations are being conducted? What’s the basis?” Panelo said.
“What I’m questioning is the basis of her conclusion, which is based on hearsay and some reports coming from whoever and from wherever,” he added. “It’s not an independent study. It’s not an objective study. It’s just a conclusion on the basis of things that she heard.”
“She was saying she read reports. She saw some videos. And on the basis of that, she made a conclusion that the operation against the drug menace in this country is wrong,” he added. “How can she make that kind of conclusion when she only read the reports of some people and saw some videos?”
Panelo says that Callamard cannot base her conclusions on newspaper reports or videos or on "things she has heard."
She needs to be objective and have an indent study to ascertain the truth of what is really happening.
Fair enough. Right? Wrong!
Go through those statements and replace "she" and "her" with "Filipino citizens" and "they." The only way for anyone to know anything about what is going on with the government, with the drug war, with anything they are not personally acquainted with is through the media: newspapers and video and yes even "things they have heard."
What Panelo is admitting is that Filipinos, and the entire world, cannot trust Philippine media to tell the truth. That everything being reported in the media is a lie. That the only way to know the truth is to actually investigate it for yourself.
Many would agree that the media is not reporting the truth.
They are wrong.
Did Duterte visit the Middle East? Did Duterte host the ASEAN 2017 summit? Has Duterte launched a war on drugs? Did a former beauty queen get shot in the face? Is Agnes Callamard in the country? Did Salvador Panleo make the statements above about Agnes Callamard? Is Abu Sayyaf expanding operations to the Visayas?
According to the newspapers and videos and "things people have said" the answer is "Yes."
According to Panleo the answer is "I don't know!"
This extreme skepticism is known as Pyrronhism.
The main principle of Pyrrho’s thought is expressed in the word acatalepsia, implying that one cannot possibly know the true nature of things. For any given statement the opposite may be advanced with equal reason.
Those who like Panelo would abjure the media as nothing but lies are liars themselves and seek to cover up their misdeeds which the media reports.
"You can't trust the newspapers," they say in a newspaper article or in a news video.
And not seeing the irony, Filipinos nod their heads in agreement and post about it on Facebook.
Instead of rejecting the media outright and abandoning ourselves to skepticism let's learn how to read and discern properly.