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MANILA, Philippines – Below is Rappler’s statement on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s move to void ABS-CBN’s franchise via the Supreme Court on Monday, February 10:
We at Rappler deplore the latest attempt by the Duterte administration to use the levers of state power to bring down a media company and silence Filipino journalists.
By bringing ABS-CBN to court, Solicitor General Jose Calida reminded us of the reason he remains in his position despite his office’s miserable backlog: he has no qualms spending public funds to please his master.
We know this first-hand because it was Calida who mobilized a team in 2016 to build a false case against Rappler and who secretly asked the Securities and Exchange Commission – 3 days before Christmas of December 2016 – to investigate us. This resulted in a closure order in January 2018. The Court of Appeals has since remanded the case to the SEC for reinvestigation.
On Monday, Calida said : “Like Rappler, ABS-CBN had issued Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation to foreigners, in violation of the foreign ownership restriction on mass media in the Constitution.”
We reiterate that PDRs are financial instruments used by media entities to allow foreign investments without violating the constitutional rule that media companies should be 100% Filipino-owned. PDRs are a common, lawful practice, and their legality has been upheld by the SC.
The Duterte administration, through Mr Calida, is resorting to legal gymnastics to push their own agenda of silencing critical media.
We stand with our colleagues at ABS-CBN and share the hope that they will weather this and come out even stronger. – Rappler.com