Palace hits back at Rappler’s Ressa for lecture on Philippine press freedom
MANILA, Philipines — Malacañang on Friday hit back at Rappler CEO and founder Maria Ressa for lecturing how government has curtailed press freedom in the Philippines.
Ressa, in an interview over ABS-CBN’s News Channel, said the Duterte administration should “embrace the Constitution” and stop abusing its power.
“They truly need to embrace the Constitution — not to manipulate it for what power wants, but to live by the principles and the spirit our forefathers wanted it to have,” she said.
“I urge Atty. Panelo to please look at what freedom of expression and freedom of speech mean,” she added, after Panelo said freedom of speech remained “robust” in the country.
But Panelo slammed Ressa for complaining about their reporter Pia Ranada being barred from covering the Palace.
“She (Ressa) was complaining about Pia Ranada being barred and she says that it’s unconstitutional. First, we said that coming here in the Palace is a privilege and there is certainly rules that should be followed by members of the Malacañang Press Corps,” Panelo said.
In February 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte barred Ranada from covering Palace events as well as his activities after calling her media outfit Rappler as “fake news” site.
But Panelo said “even if Pia was disallowed from coming here, the fact is, you just saw, she can still ask questions and we are responding, she can still cover, nothing has changed except her physical presence.”
“And on the matter of the theory of Ressa that it is unconstitutional, if that is true, I am wondering why she has not challenged this stand by the Palace before the courts since the incident involving a Rappler reporter has occurred several months ago,” he said. /kga
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