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Sec. Aguirre: No “fishing expedition” in Rappler case probe

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, 19 January 2018 04:37 PM

Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre has denied the statement of Rappler that the probe to be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will just be a fishing expedition with the aim to suppress the freedom of the press.

According to Aguirre, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is just doing its job to probe the alleged violation of the online news site of the constitution and other laws.

He said that he orders the investigation after receiving a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that contains its decision on the case against Rappler.

According to the Justice Secretary, Rappler should welcome the NBI probe since it will be given the opportunity to prove its innocence.

Aguirre also called on Rappler to cooperate with the investigation and help the government reveal the truth. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Court of Appeals denies Rappler plea on SEC case

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, 11 March 2019 06:59 PM

Court of Appeals facade (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld its earlier decision declaring that the online news site Rappler is not fully owned by Filipinos.

In a resolution promulgated on February 21, 2019, CA rejected the plea of Rappler and its holding company, Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) to reverse its July 2018 decision to affirm the order of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in revoking its business articles of incorporation for alleged violation of ownership restrictions.

The SEC, in January 2018, cancelled Rappler’s registration for allegedly violating the constitutional requirement for mass media to be 100-percent Filipino-owned because it allowed Omidyar Network to hold Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR).

The appellate court said in its ruling, that Rappler failed to raise any new argument, reiterating that there was no violation on the part of SEC when it revoked the online site’s registration due to ownership issue.

“After careful scrutiny of the instant motion, this court finds that it presents no compelling reason to justify the reconsideration of this court’s decision dated 26 July 2018. The arguments raised by petitioners are essentially the same as those that have already been discussed and were exhaustively passed upon in this Court’s decision,” the resolution read.

Rappler has long insisted that it is completely Filipino-owned and is not covered by a Philippine law prohibiting foreigners from owning a mass media entity.

The Court, however, said that Rappler is a mass media entity despite its argument that its online nature was not among the mass media acknowledged under the law, because its actions, as well as its articles of incorporations and by-law, stated that it is in the business not fully Filipino ownedof operating news, information and social network services.

CA also said that it needs further study on Omidyar Network’s action of donating all of its PDRs to Rappler staff, which Rappler claims to have already addressed what was previously found objectionable by SEC.

“It is incumbent upon the SEC to evaluate the terms and conditions of said alleged supervising donation and its legal effect, particularly, whether the same has the effect of mitigating, if not curing, the violation it found petitioners to have committed. If so, this may warrant a re-examination of the sanction of revocation of petitioners’ Certificates of Incorporation imposed by the SEC En Banc in the assailed decision,” CA said.

“In view of the said directive, this court will refrain from discussing the donation so as not to preempt the evaluation, and the subsequent finding and conclusion to be reached by the SEC. Besides, this court notes that petitioners are merely seeking partial reconsideration of this Court’s decision, which means that its ruling remanding the case and directing the SEC to conduct an evaluation of the legal effect of the alleged donation stands and binds petitioner,” the court concluded. – Robie de Guzman

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Malacañang insists Maria Ressa is the one abusing her power as journalist

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 15 February 2019 06:04 PM

FILE PHOTO: Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa

MANILA, Philippines — It its about abusing one’s power, Malacañang insists that it is Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa who is abusing her power as a journalist.

“Now you say there is an abuse of power, excuse me Maria, abuse of power? You are the one abusing your power as a journalist,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“You’re martialing your colleagues to support you, on the basis of a misplaced and baseless cause. What is the cause? You’re saying that the government is instilling fear because of the case filed against you. There is no connection whatsoever,” he added.

The Palace said the charge against Ressa was constitutional and it was the Court who found probable cause to serve the arrest warrant.

Panelo stressed that the Duterte administration has nothing to do with the case.

The Palace official advised Ressa to stop blaming the government for her fate but blame it on her lawyer instead.

Meanwhile, Panelo called on Ressa’s supporters locally and abroad to educate themselves first on the exact truth behind the embattled journalist’s arrest.

“The support obviously is coming from those who had been either ignorant of the facts or misinformed of the facts,” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Ressa’s cyber libel case ‘unrelated’ to freedom of expression — Malacañang

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, 14 February 2019 10:42 AM

File photo: Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa

Malacañang clarified that freedom of speech does not end with the arrest of Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor of Rappler, an online news network critical of the Duterte government.

“Freedom of expression, as critics of this administration erroneously suggest, is absolutely unrelated with Ms. Ressa’s probable violation of the country’s laws,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.

Ressa was served an arrest warrant Wednesday afternoon (February 13) at the Rappler headquarters in connection with cyber libel charges.

The warrant was issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Rainelda H. Estacio-Montesa after finding probable cause in the complaint filed by businessman Wilfredo D. Keng about a story published by Rappler which linked him to the illegal drug trade.

Panelo assured that the Duterte administration will not interfere in the case as it has “always respected the Judiciary on how it handles cases pending before its courts.”

He added that Ressa should “welcome” the chance to defend herself and “be heard before the court of law.”

“We are a country of laws and every citizen must adhere to the rule of law. No one is above the law, not even high profile self-anointed crusading journalists. Whatever the outcome is, it must be respected by everyone for such is the law. This is how the rule of law work,” Panelo said in a statement. —UNTV News and Rescue

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