Duterte Government Must Watch Out for Rappler’s Foreign Ownership

Columnist Rigoberto Tiglao posted in “The Manila Times” page about the Constitution’s Artile XVI, Section 11 that states “The ownership of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines” which he assumes that the news website Rappler violated by having foreign capital, which accounts for about half of its P250 million capitalization. He requests for the Duterte government to investigate on this.

Benjamin Bitanga is the principal Filipino owner of Rappler. The firm got a reported $2 million in investments in 2015 from US firms Omdiyar Network (funded by the founder of the world’s biggest online retailer eBay) and tech investment firm North Base Media for the mining and energy magnate.

The Constitution’s Article XVI, Section 11 is definite which means, media company cannot invest even a single peso of foreign money.

In a February article, Rappler admitted that foreign firms invested in it in 2015. But it is not reflected in the Financial Statements they have submitted in the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The news website claims that the said foreign capital it received was in the form of “Philippine Depositary Receipts”

“PDRs do not indicate ownership. This means our foreign investors do not own Rappler. They invest, but they don’t own. Rappler remains 100 percent Filipino-owned”, said an anonymous Rappler writer referring to the PDRs that ABS-CBN, GMA 7, and even Indonesian Anthoni Salim’s media empire have been using.

Rappler is even used by the Yellow Cult as a medium for them to make dirt of President Duterte’s name in relation to his campaign on anti-drugs.

“How can we not be in outrage against a news outfit funded hugely by foreigners that spreads lies about our country?” says Tiglao

On the other hand, GMA and ABS-CBN were authorized by the SEC to sell PDRs to foreign firms on 2007 and 2013 respectively, in order to expand their capital. If this On the basis of that precedent of Rappler’s case, this reveals how totally illegal and unconstitutional their fake PDRs are.

Because Rappler has been able to get away with having foreign investors, the biggest internet firms in the world could also get a hold and control their own news sites for the Philippines and use unscrupulous Filipinos as dummies.

They would be able control the dominant news vehicle of this era, the Internet, and bury even the Philippine media giants now, the broadsheets and the TV networks with their enormous finances,

And with this, news websites like Rappler can seriously and very easily damage the country’s reputation.

Source: Manila Times