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Poe: No need for PCOO’s press freedom caravan in Europe

/ 01:19 PM February 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Monday questioned the need for a “press freedom caravan” to make the European media understand the “real nature” of the cyberlibel case filed against Duterte administration critic and Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa.

Poe, who is seeking reelection,  said the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) should let the court decide on Ressa’s case.

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“Is it really necessary to spend people’s money on this? Hindi pa ba sapat ang paliwanag ng iba’t opisyal na nagsalita hinggil sa isyu? Nasa korte na rin ang bagay na ito kaya pabayaan na natin ang proseso na gumulong,” said Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public information and mass media.

(Are the explanations of officials on the issue not enough?  The matter issue is now being handled by the court, let the process flow.)

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The senator said the PCOO should instead use its funds to information drives on vaccination, as well as on peaceful and fair elections.

“Mas mainam na gamitin ng PCOO ang pera nito sa pagpapakalat ng impormasyon para hikayatin ang mga magulang na pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak, o kaya naman, tumulong sa information dissemination para sa isang maayos at mapayapang eleksyon,” she said.

(It would be better for the PCOO to use funds for information dissemination on vaccination and honest, orderly and peaceful elections.)

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said the PCOO officials-led caravan, which is now in Bosnia and would head to Belgium and Switzerland, would brief European media on the state of press freedom in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Gov’t execs to brief Europe on Rappler rap

Last Feb. 13, Ressa was arrested by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents.

She stayed the night at the NBI before she was allowed to post a bail of P100,000 on Thursday.

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NBI agents reportedly threatened Rappler reporters who were taking videos of her arrest.

READ: Rappler to study NBI’s ‘security issues’ in Ressa’s arrest — lawyer

The arrest of the journalist critical sparked condemnation both from local and international groups.

The online news site was also the subject of a tax evasion case. / gsg

READ: Ressa arrest sparks int’l outrage

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TAGS: Andanar, Europe, Grace Poe, PCOO, press freedom caravan
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