MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was “invoking executive action” when he issued directive to ban Rappler’s reporter Pia Ranada from covering Malacanang events.
Duterte said Rappler’s reporters would be allowed to cover again his events if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would declare it 100 percent Filipino-owned online news outfit.
“Because it is not a legitimate agency according to SEC. So I am now invoking executive action based on the SEC ruling,” Duterte said in a media interview following his visit to the wake of Joana Demafelis in Sara, Iloilo.
“If they say they are now legitimate, they can enter (Malacanang) again. No problem with me. But unless they are not legitimate, since it is not Filipino-owned, that is illegal,” he added.
Duterte said Rappler might be Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored “because CIA has been known to – well, the Rappler, if you will read, it takes every chance, if there’s a chance, to undermine you.”
“That is the history of America, CIA, and ‘yung political dissenters, inaalagan nila at eventually mamili ‘yan sila ng kandidado na mautusan nila kagaya nito ngayon (That is the history of America, CIA and those political dissenters, they are taking care of them and eventually pick a candidate whom they can dictate just like this one),” the President said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that Rappler’s reporter was allowed to cover Malacanang despite SEC’s decision on Jan. 11 revoking its registration for violating foreign equity restrictions in mass media “because of liberality of the President.”
“Liberality ceased because of her insistence that her fake news was in fact news. It’s not really the fact that she reported fake news, but her insistence after the Senate hearing that her story was still true that really led to the decision to ban her,” Roque said in a media interview in Iloilo.
Roque said the directive to ban Rappler’s reporters from the entire Malacanang complex was issued at 2pm on Feb. 20 (Tuesday).
“We cannot allow anyone into the President’s home especially a person who insists on disrespecting the home by reporting fake news,” the Palace spokesperson said.
“Let’s not make it freedom of the press issue; spreading fake news inside somebody’s home is coarseness,” he added.