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MANILA, Philippines —We are updating this page as more reports and statements come in.
February 22, 2018
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, explaining the decision to ban Pia Ranada from the Malacañang complex:
“Sarili ‘nyong tahanan, babastusin kayo ng bisita, masisisi ‘nyo ba kung palalabasin sa tahanan ‘nyo ‘yung nambabastos? Ganoon din po ang Presidente… Ang nangyari rito, pinapasok ang Rappler, si Pia, sa tahanan ng Presidente, dahil ang Malacañang naman po ay tahanan ng Presidente. Eh nabastos po ang Presidente,”
(If your guest is rude to you in your own home, can you blame it if the rude visitor is told to leave? It’s the same with the President… What happened here is, Rappler, Pia, was allowed into the home of the President because Malacañang is the home of the President. Then the President got offended.)
This is the first known instance, after the Marcos regime, where the sitting president banned a news group and a journalist from setting foot in the Malacañang compound because of critical reporting.
February 21, 2018
Rappler reporter Pia Ranada has been banned from entering the entire Malacañang complex, not just Malacañang Palace.
Thus, I’ve been banned from Harry Roque’s press briefings. No more opportunity to ask questions in person, make follow-ups, participate in ambush interviews. I’ll definitely miss that. I didn’t realize today would be my last day in Malacañang. Breaks my heart. https://t.co/oW64IYOpsW— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) February 21, 2018
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s statement: Peke na nga ang balita ng Rappler, peke pa rin ang pagiging Pilipino nila. Ayusin muna nila ang dalawang bagay na ito bago sila sumigaw ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag.
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. If Rappler wants to have direct coverage of certain events inside and outside Malacañang, it may apply for Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) accreditation.
Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation. Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity.
We gave 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. Ayusin muna nila ang dalawang bagay na ito bago sila sumigaw ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag.
No, Mr Roque. This is about press freedom.
It is not the government’s role to say who can cover what, and when, and where. There is a clear line between a nation’s officials, and the press whose job it is to hold them accountable by informing the public of their actions.
No less than the SEC had declared it is not executing its decision until it becomes final and executory. We did not apply for a TRO [Temporary Restraining Order] relying on good faith with the official statement, and now you are conveniently using it to suppress freedom.
Judging from the actuations of this administration, you will find another way to bar us even if we get a TRO. It is a barefaced assault on the right of all journalists to do their job. Your mad scramble during your press conference to justify Ranada’s barring with contradictory statements belies the truth: that the administration sees the free press as a threat to its comfort and impunity.
Read our full statement here.
Brigadier General Lope Dagoy, commander of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said Rappler reporter Pia Ranada should have been grateful that the PSG personnel who stopped her at the Malacañang gate did not hurt her after she “bullied” him with questions: “Huwag ninyo ganunin, sumusunod sa orders lang ‘yan. Pasalamat kayo hindi kayo sinaktan sa pagbabastos na ginawa ‘nyo,”
We denounce the threat made by the commander of the Presidential Security Group against Rappler and its Malacañang reporter Pia Ranada. Dagoy’s statement is conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman, coming as it did from a soldier who took his oath to defend civilians, who stands closest to the seat of power, and who serves an organization that has shown, time and again, its respect for and appreciation of civilian institutions such as Rappler. We ask General Dagoy to apologize for his outburst or for his superiors to take him to task for threatening to use force outside the battlefield.
READ: PSG chief’s remark vs Rappler reporter ‘uncalled for’ – Lorenzana
Malacañang says Rappler is barred from covering Palace events because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s irritation with its reporter: “Hindi lang pupuwede magkaroon ngayon ng access sa Presidente dahil bwisit sa kanya ang Presidente,”
Accreditation to cover Malacañan Palace is not dependent on the liking or trust of whoever is president. The Malacañang Press Corps’ rules on membership are very clear. Accreditation is not a personal issue but a recognition of the role of the media as check and balance in a democracy. Betrayal has no place in any professional relationship between a government official, including the President, and a journalist. Secretary Roque as presidential spokesperson should know better.
READ: Rappler reporter remains in Malacañang Press Corps unless SEC ruling final – MPC
February 20, 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte himself gave the order to ban Rappler’s Palace reporter Pia Ranada from entering Malacañang Palace itself despite proper press credentials.
The ban was extended to Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa. It is the first time, post-Marcos, that a duly-elected president has banned particular journalists from entering the entire Malacañang compound.
Our accreditation to cover Malacañang cannot be cancelled on the basis of the SEC ruling because no less than the SEC itself has said its decision to revoke our registration is not final and executory. The case has been elevated to the Court of Appeals and is awaiting final decision. The executive branch must respect the judicial process and await the court’s decision.
The Palace cannot jump the gun in this latest attempt to evade public scrutiny and monopolize the conversation on matters of public interest.
Roque accused Ranada and Rappler of editorializing and making “conclusions without facts” – a charge we categorically and strongly deny.
The accusations come a day after Special Assistant to the President Bong Go faced the Senate to speak on issues hounding the P16-billion Philippine Navy frigate project. He dismissed the Rappler story on the Navy project as “fake news” which evades the issue of accountability. (READ: Rappler statement on Bong Go’s ‘fake news’ accusation)
Rappler applauds the courage of Pia Ranada to persist in asking the tough questions that demand clear answers.
We encourage government to answer these uncomfortable questions and avoid using its immense power to obstruct, harass, and evade public scrutiny.
Read our full statement here.
Lawmakers hit Duterte ban on Rappler’s Pia Ranada: This is part of ‘a creeping dictatorship,’ says Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
NUJP to Duterte: ‘Shame on you for displaying extreme pettiness’
The chorus among the President’s online supporters is that press freedom is not the issue, as other news outlets who’ve been critical of the administration were not implicated then. However, this is a clear case of intimidation, setting Ranada as an example to these critical news outlets of what could happen if they continue to ask their own hard questions. The government has set a precedent, and while Ranada may be the pet peeve now, someone else could be next.
In this oppressive climate, we need your support more than ever. The government needs to see that ordinary Filipinos value a free press, that they understand how an endangered press also means a powerless public. Fortunately, there are many ways to show your advocacy, such as speaking up online and offline; sharing the work of our journalists to others; and helping fund our efforts.
Help us, and other journalists across the country, do our job. The line between real reporting and propaganda is clearly drawn, and we need you alongside us to hold it. Visit rappler.com/support for more details. – Rappler.com