Duterte says Rappler can resume Palace coverage if proven legitimate

ONLINE news site Rappler can resume its coverage of Malacañang if it is declared a "legitimate" news media outfit, President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday, February 22.

Duterte made the remark on the sidelines of his visit to the wake of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis in Sara, Iloilo.

The President, for the first time, explained that his decision to prevent Rappler, specifically its reporter Pia Ranada, from entering Malacañang Palace, was in accordance with the Securities and Exchange's (SEC) January 11 ruling to revoke the media entity's certificate of incorporation.

"It (Rappler) is not a legitimate agency, according to SEC. So I am now invoking executive action based on the SEC ruling," he told reporters in a chance interview.

"If Rappler is declared as legitimate (news firm), you can be allowed to enter again. That's not a problem to me," he added.

The SEC, in its decision dated January 11, invalidated Rappler's certificate of incorporation for allegedly violating foreign equity restrictions mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

The corporate regulator said Rappler had ceded control of its organization to foreign entity Omidyar Network of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Rappler, however, can continue its operations since the SEC ruling is not "final and executory."

Apart from SEC's decision, the President also vented frustration over Rappler's alleged "distortion" of several issues concerning his administration.

He also claimed that Rappler "takes every chance" to vilify the government.

"Well, the newspaper itself, if you would read it, it takes every chance, there's a chance to undermine you," he said.

"Read Rappler later. I do not have to suggest anything. They will make a distortion," the President added.

On Wednesday, February 20, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte felt "betrayed" by Ranada, who was once treated by the President as his "granddaughter."

Ranada, through Rappler, reported last month about Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go's alleged interference in the controversial P15.7-billion frigate project of the Philippine Navy. (SunStar Philippines)
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