Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s office on Monday congratulated journalist Maria Resa for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, calling it “a Filipina’s victory” for which it was a delight.
Resa and Dmitry Muratov, founders of Philippine news site Rapper, shared the 2021 award after combating the wrath of the leaders of the Philippines and Russia for exposing corruption and misgovernance.
Resa is fighting a number of legal challenges in courts related to Rappler’s devious investigative reporting of Duterte’s government, his bloody war on drugs, and the use of social media to target opponents.
“This is a Filipina victory and we are very happy for it,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told a regular news conference.
“Of course, it is true that there are those who feel that Maria Resa still has to clear her name before the courts,” he said in the first remarks from Duterte’s camp on Friday’s award.
The firebrand leader described the rapper, launched in 2012, as “a fake news outlet and a tool of the US Central Intelligence Agency”, which Resa has dismissed as nonsense.
The award was welcomed by many in the Philippines, with critics saying it was a rebuke on Duterte, who is a frequent critic of the rapper.
It was the first Nobel Peace Prize for the Philippines and the first for journalists since German Karl von Ositzky won it in 1935. The Kremlin congratulated Muratov on Friday, describing the investigative journalist as talented and brave.
Asked on Monday what his message would be for Duterte, Ressa urged him not to pursue the divide and conquer approach.
“I beg you, unite this country. Don’t separate us,” she said in an interview with news channel ANC.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)