By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE sees nothing wrong with state television’s airing of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s meeting with his partymates and another political party’s event supporting the possible presidential bid of his daughter.

The People’s Television Network (PTV) covered the events because these were newsworthy, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Thursday.

“Whenever it’s newsworthy, it’s covered,” he said. “Otherwise, they will get outscooped. PTV is still a news agency,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

The government media on Wednesday aired the meeting of PDP-Laban, which Mr. Duterte heads. The two-hour meeting showed the President’s political allies urging him to run for vice president next year for continuity.

The six-year term of Mr. Duterte, who is barred by law from running for reelection is ending next year.

PTV also aired the press conference of the People’s Reform Party, which announced its support for Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio. Mr. Roque, a party member, attended the meeting.

“The President has always been the chairman of PDP-Laban,” Mr. Roque said. “There’s no way to separate the political personality of the President from his functions.”

During the meeting, Mr. Duterte said he was seriously thinking about running for vice president. He added that he would become inutile as vice president if his successor was not an ally.

Political observers and constitutional experts have said a Duterte vice presidency violates the spirit of the post-dictatorship Constitution.

The late President Corazon C. Aquino oversaw the drafting of the basic law that limited the powers of the presidency and re-established the bicameral Congress, which her predecessor, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, abolished.

Mr. Marcos and his family were forced into exile in the US after he was ousted by a popular street uprising in 1986.  

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep.Carlos Zarate asked whether PTV had “become the private property of PDP-Laban.”

“Is it in line with President Duterte’s penchant for claiming taxpayer’s paid services and personnel as his own?” The congressmen said in a statement. “This is an unabashed display of impunity in using government time and resources for a clearly partisan political activity.”

“Is this also the reason why Radio Television Malacañang and PTV always have airtime for favored presumptive candidates of the President, especially when the program is simulcasted with other networks?” He asked.

State media should observe fairness and avoid favoring administration allies, said Cleve V. Arguelles, a political science lecturer at De La Salle University.

“It’s OK if the state media are covering all political parties,” he said by telephone. “The problem is if they would be giving an advantage to administration parties or members of the ruling coalition.”

Political analyst and constitutional expert Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña said people should guard against the use of public resources to favor certain candidates. The Commission on Elections has the power to prevent parties from doing this, he said by telephone.

“It certainly looks like the government-owned and -run TV station is being used for partisan political activities,” Ateneo Policy Center research fellow Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco said in a Facebook Messenger chat. The network should be made to explain its actions, he added.