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During Obama visit to Manila, Philippine president defends record on journalist deaths

Philippines Obama -1.jpg

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks as Philippine President Benigno Aquino III looks on during a joint news conference at Malacanang Palace in Manila, the Philippines, Monday, April 28, 2014. Obama is assuring Filipinos that a new security agreement doesn't mean the U.S. is trying to reestablish military bases in their country. Obama says a deal signed Monday to give the U.S. military greater access to Philippine bases will help strengthen security in the region. He said it also will allow for a faster response to natural disasters. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (The Associated Press)

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is pushing back against criticism that his government has done too little to address extrajudicial killings of journalists and others.

Aquino was asked about human rights during a news conference with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama.

Aquino says his government's track record speaks for itself. He's citing the prosecution of those implicated in a 2009 massacre that killed 52 journalists and civilians.

But Aquino also says sometimes investigators determine journalists weren't killed because of their profession. He says out of respect for privacy, officials don't always disclose what they discover about, in his words, "shall we say, other issues."

Aquino says those who accuse his government of stifling dissent should look at local media where he says criticism of the government is tolerated.