Duterte defends Rappler press ban: Perhaps they are CIA?

President Duterte and Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, who was barred from working at the Malacañang this week

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was “invoking executive action” when he issued directive to ban Rappler’s reporter Pia Ranada from covering Malacañang events.

Duterte said Rappler’s reporters would be allowed to cover again his events if the Securities and Exchange Commission would declare it 100 percent -owned online news outfit.

“Because it is not a legitimate agency according to SEC. So I am now invoking executive action based on the ruling,” Duterte said in a interview following his visit to the wake of Joana Demafelis in Sara, Iloilo.

“If they say they are now legitimate, they can enter (Malacañang) again. No problem with me. But unless they are not legitimate, since it is not -owned, that is illegal,” he added.

Duterte said Rappler might be Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored “because CIA has been known to – well, the Rappler, if you will read, it takes every chance, if there’s a chance, to undermine you.”

“That is the history of America, CIA, and that is the history of America, CIA and those political dissenters, they are taking care of them and eventually pick a candidate whom they can dictate just like this one,” the President said.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque explained that Rappler’s reporter was allowed to cover Malacañang despite ’s decision on January 11 revoking its registration for violating foreign equity restrictions in mass media “because of liberality of the president”.

“Liberality ceased because of her insistence that her fake news was in fact news. It’s not really the fact that she reported fake news, but her insistence after the Senate hearing that her story was still true that really led to the decision to ban her,” he said.

The spokesman also said that the directive to ban Rappler’s reporters from the entire Malacañang complex was issued at 2pm on Tuesday (February 20).

“We cannot allow anyone into the president’s home especially a person who insists on disrespecting the home by reporting fake news,” he said.

“Let’s not make it freedom of the press issue; spreading fake news inside somebody’s home is coarseness,” he added.