Roque slams Rappler's founder: Journalists should be first to follow law

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque slammed Rappler and it's founder, Maria Ressa, for her claims that the closure order of the online news outlet is the idea of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview with ANC anchored by Karen Davila, Roque explained the news outlet violated the constitutional ban on foreign ownership in media thru selling Philippine depository rights (PDR) to eBay found Pierre Omidyar and Ressa throught she could get away from it.

“She wanted to skirt prohibition and still enable her to raise funds from aboard. But she was wrong, you can’t question the jurisdiction of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” said Roque.

The SEC issued a 29-page decision last January 11 whereas it quoted that the company is liable for violating the  constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media enforceable through rules and laws within the mandate of the Commission.

The spokesperson exclaimed Ressa was out of line when she declared that Rappler was being singled out by the government.

“My point is you’re a news agency and you will exercise public trust. You criticize people when they violate the laws of Constitution, why can’t you comply with the Constitution? What makes you so special or you want a special rule for yourself because you are in the profession of journalism. Should not journalists, like lawyers, be the first to comply with the law?” said Roque.

The decision was signed by SEC Teresita Herbosa and three SEC Commissioners: Antonieta Ibe, Ephyo Luis Amatong, and Emilio Aquino. Another Commissioner, Blas James Viterbo, did not take part, in the decision-making.

Source: InquirerSunstarPolitics