Rappler ban stays; Palace leaves it to OSG to answer petition

Published August 15, 2019, 7:25 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang is not poised to lift its ban on Rappler, saying a court decision on the issue is better since it will give the matter jurisprudence.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after the Supreme Court ordered the government to comment on Rappler’s petition to lift its order banning Rappler and its reporters from joining presidential coverages and entering the Malacañang compound.

In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo refused to comment on the issue, saying he would just let the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to answer the petition.

“We will not preempt the SolGen. He’s the lawyer who will be representing these respondents and he will do what is required for him to do,” he said.

“Bayaan na natin ang Supreme Court… to enrich jurisprudence,” he added.

However, Panelo maintained that the ban on Rappler cannot be considered a restraint because they are still able to write anything they want about the President.

“You must remember that until now, they are still dishing, writing news. They are covering events, activities. In fact, si Pia, lahat ng statements ko, meron siya (even Rappler correspondent Pia Ranada continues to receive my statements),” he said.

“Even if she’s not here, meron pa rin siyang ano, alam pa rin niya ang nangyayari sa Palasyo (she still gets those statements, she is still aware of what’s happening in the Palace),” he added.

Panelo then said that reporters being able to enter Malacañang and covering the President is a privilege and not a right.

“I think the basis is that it’s a privilege, not a right. And there is no violation simply because the Rappler is not being stopped from writing stories, even against the government, as it wants to do,” he said.

“There are certain rules that you have also to observe as guest of the Palace. Eh ‘pag (if) you violate that, rude kayo (you are being rude) and disrespectful. It’s the right of the Palace to either reprimand you or to exclude you kasi (because) you have to observe courtesies, decorum, respect,” he added.

Rappler and its reporters were banned from entering the entire Malacañang compound in February 2018. It was later reported that the order was handed down by President Duterte.

Earlier, Malacañang said that Duterte decided to ban Rappler because he lost trust and confidence on Rappler reporter Pia Ranada and became irritated with her.

It also said that Duterte was only implementing the ruling of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoking Rappler’s license due to foreign ownership. They added that Duterte tried to ignore the ruling because of his closeness with Ranada.