Roque: Reporter ‘rude guest’ evicted by President
After being banned from covering President Duterte, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada has been barred from the entire Malacañang complex, including the office of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) where she remains a member.
In a press briefing in Iloilo City, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that Ranada “was allowed entry into the President’s home because Malacañang is the President’s home.”
“But the President was disrespected because not only did Rappler come up with fake news, it insisted on the veracity of her fake news after the Senate investigation,” Roque said.
Roque said that if a guest would disrespect the homeowner “could you blame anybody for evicting the rude guest? The President (felt) the same (way).”
The brouhaha stemmed from Rappler’s decision to stand by its story on the alleged intervention of Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go on the choice of combat management system for the Navy’s frigate acquisition program.
At a Senate inquiry on Monday, Go denied meddling in the project.
Rappler vowed to protest the ban which, it said, was a press freedom issue.
Last December, Mr. Duterte told the MPC that his “adversarial” relationship with the media was par for the course.
“I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth there, that is your business, not mine. At the end of the day, it’s not my property. It’s just public interest foremost and I think the only standard is public interest,” he said, adding:
“We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here, or else I would not be inviting you to my place.”
But the MPC continued to recognize Rappler as a member.
The MPC has the prerogative to “accept, suspend or revoke membership to the body,” it said in a statement.
Lawmakers also took turns in slamming the ban on Rappler.
Trillanes cited the case of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, noting that the President was using the same tactic in destroying Rappler by openly attacking the media outfit.
“I hope the Senate would unite in protecting press freedom in our country as this is one of the pillars of our fragile democracy. Let us stand for them. Let us fight for them,” Trillanes said in a privilege speech on Wednesday.
In a statement, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Ranada represented “two things that any dictator is afraid of.”
“A journalist who is not afraid to ask tough questions and a strong woman who will not be intimidated by state-sponsored sexism,” Hontiveros said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.