PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was just “invoking executive action” when he ordered a ban on Rappler’s reporters entering the entire Malacañang complex.
Speaking to reporters in Sara, Iloilo, Duterte said his order was in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruling to revoke Rappler’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,” Duterte said during a media interview at the sidelines of his visit to the wake of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis.
The President also claimed Rappler was owned by foreigners and might even be sponsored by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“They aren’t owned by Filipinos or maybe they are CIA-sponsored, that’s also prohibited… That is the history of America, CIA, and they take care of political dissenters. And eventually they will choose a candidate they will order around,” he said.
Duterte also cited Rappler’s alleged distortion of several issues concerning his administration, claiming the media agency “takes every chance” to vilify his government.
“Basahin ninyo ang Rappler mamaya. Susmaryosep (Read Rappler later. Oh my God). I do not have to suggest anything… they will make a distortion or a retort that is distortion,” 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 because the SEC ruling is not final.
The President said Rappler could resume its coverage of Malacañang if declared a “legitimate” news outfit.