The press is the Fourth Estate, with the first three Estates referring to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government.
Under the Constitution, the president holds the executive powers. While Congress and the judiciary are supposedly there to limit this presidential power, they are showing signs of weakening in their unyielding independence under the Duterte administration. The system is further threatened now that the President is equipped with tactics which he uses to silence those against his administration.
I agree our press is not perfect. It is corrupt and inefficient. It also has a tendency to favor elitist interests over public interest. But is shutting it down the right thing to do? Certainly not.
Despite its flaws, the press continues to function as our watchdog, the one hindering this fascist government from exploiting the atmosphere of impunity to commit crimes against our people. Given the deterioration of the first three Estates, only the Fourth Estate can help us continue defending our liberties.
We need to trust the media especially now that our leaders are using their positions to brush off critical stories and avoid scrutiny. The death of our press is also the death of our freedom.
REJINEL VALENCIA, firstname.lastname@example.org