OMIDYAR Network on Wednesday donated its Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to the 14 Filipino managers of embattled news site Rappler, Inc. so that it may continue its operations.
In an official statement posted on Rappler, Omidyar said it was donating its PDRs to the 14 managers who were all Filipino citizens “to address the unwarranted ruling made by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”
“The donation completely eliminates the sole basis of the SEC ruling against Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corp. We therefore strongly believe that the companies should be allowed to continue operating unhindered in the Philippines,” Omidyar said.
The SEC ordered the cancellation of the incorporation of Rappler on January 15 allegedly for violating the foreign equity restrictions in mass media under the 1987 Constitution.
The order came after President Rodrigo Duterte accused Rappler of having sold its controlling stake to foreign firm Omidyar Network, owned by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
The accusation came following a Rappler report linking Duterte’s special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, to the alleged irregular frigate deal between the Philippines and South Korea’s Hyundai Holdings Inc. (HHI)
Rappler denied the allegations.
“Omidyar Network’s only objective has always been to enable the ongoing growth and success of these companies, and to support their dedicated journalists in providing independent, impartial, and credible news,” Omidyar said.
“This action also reaffirms our intention that Rappler Inc and Rappler Holding Corporation should continue to operate as fully independent, Filipino-owned and -run companies, and highlights that Omidyar Network never had any control or influence over their management, operations, or editorial policy,” it added.
In a separate statement, Rappler said it welcomed Omidyar’s decision to donate its investment.
“This generous act proves that Rappler is, as it has always been, Filipino-owned and controlled. It also demonstrates that Omidyar Network, in whatever capacity, remains committed to supporting independent, investigative, and innovative media organizations globally,” it added. ANGELICA BALLESTEROS