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Roque: Duterte felt ‘betrayed’ by Rappler reporter

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 06:10 PM February 21, 2018
Harry Roque

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

President Rodrigo Duterte said he felt “betrayed” by Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, whom he said he treated like his granddaughter, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte had issued an order to his officials not to allow Ranada to enter Malacañang and cover his events.

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“Nag-isyu na ang Presidente ng order na hindi pupuwede si Pia [sa Malacañang],” Roque told reporters.

“Trinaydor siya ni Pia, dahil alam naman ng marami sa Malacañang Press Corps, itinuring niya na parang apo ni presidente. Pero para pagpilitan ang fake news, wala nang dahilan para siya’y manatili sa Malacañang kung puro fake news naman ang kanyang ibabalita,” he added.

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[Pia betrayed him, considering that, as many members of the Malacañang Press Corps know, the president treated her like a granddaughter. But for insisting on putting out fake news, she has no more reason to stay in Malacañang, if it’s it all fake news that she insists on reporting.]

Only restriction is Malacañang coverage, access to Duterte

In another interview aired on Wednesday over AM radio dzMM, Roque said Duterte was pissed with Ranada.

“Lilinawin ko lang po: Bagama’t hindi na siya pupuwedeng mag-cover sa Malacañang, puwede siyang magsulat kahit anong gusto niyang isulat, kahit puro fake news iyan. Kung kaligayahan niya iyan, ituloy niya iyan. Kaya nga po walang paglalabag, walang pagsusupil sa kalayaan ng pamamahayag,” Roque said.

[Let me just make it clear: Though she would no longer be able to cover Malacañang, she can still write whatever she want want to right, even if it’s all fake news. If that makes her happy, she can keep on doing that. That’s why there’s no violation, no suppression of the freedom of the press.]

“Ang hindi lang siya pupuwede ay magkaroon ng access ngayon kay Presidente, dahil bwisit sa kanya ang Presidente,” he added.

[The only thing she can’t have is access to the President for now, because the President is annoyed with her.]

No curtailment of press freedom

In a statement, Roque said the ruling of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoking Rappler’s registration would be executory for now.

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“This is to inform everyone that under the Rules of Court, judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, are not stayed while on appeal with the Court of Appeals, unless the CA directs otherwise,” he said. “In Rappler’s case, no such directive from the CA has been issued.”

Roque said Malacañang had no intention to curtail the press freedom of Ranada.

“We did not implement the SEC decision at once,” he said. “We could have earlier disallowed Rappler’s Palace beat reporter, Pia Ranada, from entering Malacañang when the SEC decision was handed down if our intent is to infringe press freedom.”

“However, we allowed Miss Rañada to continue performing her work assignments unimpeded, notwithstanding that trust with the news source had already been adversely affected, in the hope that this would be restored,” he added.

Roque said the government had given “Rappler ample time to avail of legal remedies.”

“However, it became apparent that Rappler is more interested in spreading fake news, and as yesterday’s incident demonstrated, it would rather sensationalize the issue of non-entry in Malacanang rather than comply with the rules,” he said.

Roque insisted that barring Ranada from the Palace premises was not an attack on press freedom.

“Let us be clear: The case of Rappler is not an attack on press freedom. Members of the media, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, continue to be hard-hitting yet they can cover the activities of the President. Ms. Ranada’s accreditation, which would give her access to Palace activities, lies on Rappler’s accreditation.”

Rañada may apply for accrediation through Focap

The Palace official suggested that, if Rappler would want to have direct coverage of events inside and outside Malacañang, it could apply for accreditation through the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap).

“Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation,” he said. “Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity.”

He said the government had given “Rappler sufficient opportunity to rectify the infraction of ownership rules or obtain judicial relief, but instead of doing so it spent time and resources to foment false news and opted to twist the facts like it often does.”

“Peke na nga ang balita ng Rappler, peke pa rin ang pagiging Pilipino nila,” Roque added. “Ayusin muna nila ang dalawang bagay na ito bago sila sumigaw ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag.”

[Not only is Rappler’s news fake, its being Filipino is also fake. They should fix these two things before they start clamoring for press freedom.] /atm

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TAGS: Harry Roque, Malacañang Press Corps, Pia Rañada, press freedom, Rappler, Rodrigo Duterte
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