Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James B. Jimenez on Monday, Feb. 28, said the answer of acting Comelec Chairperson Soccoro B. Inting to the letter of protest of the National Press Club (NPC) against the poll body’s partnership with news website Rappler is still being prepared.
On Feb. 24, the poll body inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Rappler in a bid to fight disinformation and promote voter awareness during the election season.
This forged agreement, however, was questioned by the NPC, saying the partnership is “unacceptable to most Filipinos.”
Jimenez defended the poll body’s partnership with Rappler by saying the issue on Rappler’s alleged foreign ownership is still on the status quo.
“If I'm not mistaken, the issue on foreign ownership has not yet been fully resolved. If I’m not mistaken it is pending before the Court of Appeals. If it is pending before the Court of Appeals, it seems to me that a final determination hasn't been reached yet,” Jimenez said when asked by the media for the poll body’s reaction to those opposing the partnership.
“The Comelec is not the proper venue to make that proper determination. So as far as the Comelec is concerned, hindi pa tapos ang kaso (the case is still not over). Status quo pa ‘yan (It’s still on status quo). If they are able to operate now, then why should they not be considered a legitimate news organization,” he continued.
The Comelec spokesperson said that the MOA entered into by Rappler and the poll body is “practically a boilerplate agreement.”
“This is the same agreement that we entered into with all networks, with all media organizations. Rappler is not getting any special information; it's not getting any special treatment; it's not getting any information that would not be available to any other media network,” it noted.
According to Jimenez, the purpose of the MOA is to ensure that there exists a free flow of information from the Comelec to the news organizations.