Palace hands off in Rappler’s petition

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Malacañang on Thursday maintained it will leave at the hands of the Supreme Court (SC) the decision on Rappler’s petition to lift the coverage ban imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte against the online media outlet and its reporters.

“It’s a free country. We do not interfere with the judiciary,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo replied via text message when asked about the appeal.

Rappler and several of its reporters and staff asked the high tribubal to order the government to allow them to cover the Chief Executive in his events and activities in and out of the Palace.

The petitioners are calling for the SC to overturn Duterte’s order barring them from any presidential coverage, stressing that it is a violation of the freedom of the press and their right to freedom of expression and due process.

To recall, it was in March 2018 when Duterte announced he is barring media entities like Rappler over their alleged biased reporting against him and for being “peddlers of fake news.”

Rappler’s Malacañang beat reporter, Pia Rañada, was prohibited by the Presidential Security Group from entering Palace grounds citing the order came from the “higher-ups.”

Late last month, Rappler correspondent Bobby Lagsa was asked by the on-duty staff of Malacañang’s Media Accreditation and Relations Office (MARO) to leave the PDP-Laban sortie, where the President was scheduled to deliver a speech, being held at the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City.

Lagsa was not allowed to enter the venue after the MARO personnel learned he was there to cover the event for the online news outlet.

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