MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has formalized his order to investigate Rappler for “possible violation of the Constitution and laws.”
Aguirre signed on Wednesday, January 17, Department Order Number 017 authorizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a case buildup against Rappler.
“If evidence warrants, (the NBI is granted authority) to file the appropriate cases against those found liable,” the order said.
Solicitor General Jose Calida previously said Rappler officials would be subjected to a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for possible violations of the Anti-Dummy Law.
Commonwealth Act Number 108 or the Anti-Dummy Law penalizes “evasion of the laws on the nationalization of certain rights, franchises or privileges.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler’s registration over a clause in an agreement with foreign investor Omidyar Network when the former issued the latter Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs).
The SEC en banc said a clause where Rappler should have “prior good faith discussion” with Omidyar Network before it changes its articles of incorporation or by-laws is a violation of the rule that media companies should be under “100% Filipino control.”
Media and rights groups, both here and abroad, have slammed the SEC decision as an attack against press freedom. – Rappler.com