By Genalyn Kabiling
The Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision upholding the revocation of online news website Rappler’s registration indicated that the case was not really about the alleged infringement of press freedom, Malacañang insisted on Friday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the latest court ruling has affirmed that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was “correct to revoke Rappler’s registration based on its previous investigation.”
“The decision likewise supports the Palace stance that this case does not involve press freedom, but the regulatory powers of the SEC,” Roque said.
Roque added the Palace was confident the SEC could “resolve the case with the same competence and objectivity as before.”
The CA has reportedly junked Rappler’s petition seeking to reverse the cancellation of its license to operate as ordered by the SEC over foreign ownership. The court ruled that the Omidyar Network has some foreign control over Rappler, a violation of the foreign equity restrictions in media.
The CA also returned the case back to SEC to determine the legal effect of Omidyar’s donation to Rappler staff.
President Duterte earlier slammed Rappler for being a “fake news outlet” that operates using foreign money. He claimed that Rappler’s articles, such as the report about his assistant Christopher Go’s alleged intervention in a Navy weapon supplier procurement, were filled “with innuendos and pregnant with falsity.”
Since the SEC decision was handed down in January, Malacañang has banned Rappler from covering the President’s activities in Malacañang and other places.
But Duterte has denied that the government was harassing Rappler through the securities watchdog, saying he had nothing to do with the revocation order.